Cape Town - Western Province coach John Dobson was able to
breathe a sigh of relief on Saturday night after his team's 9-3 win over the
Free State Cheetahs in Currie Cup action at a wet and windy Newlands.
The hosts trailed by 3-0 at half-time, but three second-half
penalties from Western Province flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis settled his team’s
nerves - despite a late flurry of sorts from the visitors which nearly led to a
match-winning score for them.
“I thought we dominated the match, but based on the amount
of turnovers we conceded, we tried to play too much rugby in the (poor) weather
conditions,” Dobson told the WP Rugby website.
“It was disappointing, as we would obviously like to play a
better style of rugby than that, but we dominated territory and possession… and
(yet) we ended up being a desperate Kurt Coleman dive away from losing the game
because we tried too much.”
On a disappointing note for Western Province, influential
skipper Juan de Jongh limped off in the 49th minute with what appeared to be a
serious injury, with Dobson commenting: “Juan hurt his knee, which was
obviously a blow to us. It’s not looking too flash but we will give an accurate
update on Monday.”
As one would expect from a hard-fought match of this nature,
Dobson found both positives and negatives in the WP performance.
“The breakdown was a frustration for us,” admitted the WP
“Our maul was particularly disappointing - attacking-wise
and defensively - so that’s something we certainly need to work on before the
Bulls game. Our actual lineout was good, but we didn’t do much from it, so we
need to fix that (our maul).
“The conditions were not good, but our total dominance was
pleasing. It was, however, disappointing not to score a single try and it
always about grinding out a win against a team that was, in many ways, the
underdog side looking for the shock win.”
The Cheetahs had three players yellow carded in the match, a
sure sign of the home team’s dominance, but WP were not able to take full
advantage of things - despite being up by two men at one stage in the second
“You’re not going to get around the outside in conditions
like that. If you break or kick ahead, the defence can catch up too quickly, so
we knew - like I said - that we had to grind things out,” said Dobson.
“Sometimes an exercise like this is good in a way. The guys
will know that we cannot go to Loftus with an attitude and performance like
this, so perhaps it was a good wake-up call we needed without the pain of a
Western Province will take on the Blue Bulls in Pretoria
next Saturday (kick-off 19:00).