Currie Cup

WP have nothing to lose

2015-10-23 09:05
Juan de Jongh

Cape Town - This year's Currie Cup final has been lost in the euphoria accompanying Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final between the All Blacks and the Springboks in London. 

But in Johannesburg a little more than three hours before that massive clash, the Golden Lions will look to turn a perfect season into the ultimate triumph by wrestling South Africa's premier domestic trophy back from Western Province.

WP may be the defending champions, but it is the Lions who have stolen what little headlines have been afforded to the Currie Cup this season. 

Johan Ackermann's men are undefeated after winning all 10 of their league matches and last weekend's semi-final against the Free State Cheetahs. One of those league wins was a 62-32 dismantling of WP on October 2. 

A glance back at how the campaign has progressed suggests that the visitors are in for a tough time on Saturday, but WP coach John Dobson reckons there is enough reason to be optimistic.

"We don’t want to fall into the trap of feeling that we’ve achieved our goals because I think as defending champions your goal must be to retain the title," he said this week.

"It’s so skewed against us... we conceded 60 points (against the Lions) three weeks ago, these guys ran away with the log. It’s most tries for, most points for, least points conceded... a fantastic season by them.

"And we’re playing at their home ground, at 13:45 in 28 degrees... there’s nothing for us to lose.

"We’re going to stand up... it’s a shootout. We’re going to roll the dice and in a final, if we look after a few of their talisman and put them under a bit of pressure and our belief grows, we’ve got a chance."

WP have named an unchanged side for the first time this season, but Dobson believes the match could be won or lost in the final 20 minutes. The bench, he says, is set to play a key role.

"For us to win this game the chaps are going to have to play accurately and well through exhaustion, it’s that simple," he said.

"Given the heat and the altitude we’re going to have to be a bit braver with the bench than we were the last few weeks.

"It’s a hell of a strong bench. I honestly feel like Jano Vermaak is one of the top scrumhalves in the country, Huw Jones can open a game wide open... those last 20 minutes at Ellis Park are going to be absolutely critical."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 13:45.


Golden Lions:

15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Courtnall Skosan, 13. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Anthony Volmink, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Kwagga Smith, 6. Jaco Kriel (captain), 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Lourens Erasmus, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Jacques van Rooyen

Substitutes: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Ruan Dreyer, 18. Fabian Booysen, 19. Stephan de Witt, 20. Jaco van der Walt, 21. Stokkies Hanekom, 22. Sampie Mastriet

Western Province:

15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12. Juan de Jongh (captain), 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Chris van Zyl, 19. Jurie van Vuuren, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Huw Jones


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