Cape Town - Western Province coach John Dobson was frank in
his assessment of his team's 28-21 Currie Cup loss to the Free State Cheetahs in
Bloemfontein last on Friday evening.
The defending champions suffered a second successive loss on
the road in 2015, but they did pick up a losing bonus point at Bloemfontein’s
Free State Stadium.
“It hurts a lot, but we remain determined to still be there
come the sharp-end of the season,” Dobson told the WP Rugby website.
“I was a bit happier with certain aspects this week, but you
cannot lose games like this at Western Province, so we certainly have to fix
things,” he added.
“Last week (against the Bulls) we were bullied a bit and
outplayed, but this time we shot ourselves in the foot, so we certainly have
some soul-searching to do from a results point of view.”
After thirty minutes of action, WP found themselves 25-3
down in Bloemfontein, before launching a rousing comeback which saw them
dominate the next 48 to 50 minutes by 18 points to three.
In the end, however, it was not enough to secure a third win
of the season.
“(I’m) not to take anything away from Free State but we
broke the plan a bit in the opening few minutes and made some silly errors like
the kick being charged down… (and) suddenly we were 15-0 down and then, after
half an hour, 25-3 down,” continued Dobson.
“What gives us some heart is how we played in those last 48
minutes when we got some rhythm into our game and when our breakdown functioned
well. But, ultimately, against a quality and motivated Free State team playing
such good rugby it was too big a gulf for us to bridge.
“The Cheetahs are playing some nice rugby. It’s a compelling
style, they may not have the big names… but the commitment and the way they
play is good for rugby in this region.
“I said after their (the Cheetahs’) opening loss to the
Bulls that it was an aberration - I was widely quoted and given a hard time for
saying it. But everything went right for one team (the Bulls) that day, and
nothing went right for the Cheetahs, and I stand by that.
“At no stage did I think coming here would be easy, I think
they still have a long way to go in this Currie Cup competition.”
One positive for Dobson and his coaching staff was a clean
bill of health amongst the WP players.
Loosehead prop Oli Kebble (hamstring) will be assessed again
on Monday after missing this week’s match, whilst scrumhalf Jano Vermaak
(finger) will also be given a once-over early next week.
“We missed Oli Kebble maybe, it was perhaps a bit too much
to ask our two starting props to go so deep into the game,” said Dobson, who
will also have another scrumhalf, Nic Groom, back from Barbarians duty next
“I thought our subs made a difference, but, by then, our
starting players had hit their straps to a degree.”
In this weekend’s action, Western Province will host Griquas
at Newlands on Saturday (17:05 kick-off).