Cape Town - Western Province coach Allister Coetzee was disappointed with his side's performance despite the fact that they maintained their unbeaten record after a 19-13 victory over Currie Cup basement dwellers Griquas in Cape Town on Friday.
"In general it was a messy game and we’re happy to take the points," Coetzee said.
"We could have done better if we didn’t try to do too much with ball in hand.
“A lot of credit must go the players because they showed lots of character. We’re not happy with the way we played although I’m pleased with a few things, most notably the way we contested the line-out ball."
Province cemented their place at the top of the Currie Cup log on 24 points, while Griquas languished in fifth place on 10.
“One has to feel for this Griquas side, they’ve lost so many close games," the Province coach said.
"We saw how determined they were to win tonight. They defended well but at the same time our work rate was not as good as last week (when we defeated the Bulls).”
Griquas coach Pote Human said it was becoming increasingly difficult to motivate his players while they were unable to win matches.
“It is very difficult to keep the players motivated if you lose games narrowly week after week,” said Human.
“They are not playing as team that believes they can win.
“We came here tonight with the intention of playing a kicking game but our execution was not good. I was pleased with the effort though in very trying conditions - they showed lots of guts.”
A controversial referee ruling took center stage when match referee Lourens van der Merwe yellow-carded Gerhard van den Heever at a rainy Newlands.
The TV replays showed no evidence of foul play and was based on the fact that Van den Heever attempted a hand-off was with a closed hand rather than an open one, even if it did not inflict bodily harm.
Seven minutes before halftime, WP rightwing Van den Heever set off on a bullocking run after fielding the ball from just inside the Griquas half.
He evaded several tackles but by the time he reached the 22-metre line he was partially tackled by Griquas flyhalf Francois Brummer.
While he was trying to undo the tackle with a sidestep, Griquas scrumhalf Jacques Coetzee moved in with a tackle attempt. Van den Heever, with the ball tucked under his left arm, tried to ward off the tackling effort with his hand, which was closed at the time.
Coetzee was left sprawled on the ground and the numerous television replays showed ‘the fist’ had merely brushed the side of the player’s face.
The replays, shown several times on the 'Big Screen' at the stadium, indicated that Coetzee’s injury could have been caused by his head hitting Van den Heever’s heel after the winger managed to break out of the tackle.
After having been advised of ‘foul play’ by TMO Shaun Veldsman, Van der Merwe said to Van den Heever: “Well, you’ve watched it – you’re in the sin bin for that one.” Next week Province play away to the Free State Cheetahs, while Griquas will host the Blue Bulls in Kimberley.