Currie Cup

Dobson: We're happy being underdogs

2016-10-13 14:24
John Dobson (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Western Province coach John Dobson says his side will be overwhelming underdogs when they take on the Blue Bulls in this weekend's Currie Cup semi-final at Loftus. 

It is a repeat fixture of 2015, when Province edged the Bulls 23-18 thanks to tries from Cheslin Kolbe and Jano Vermaak. 

This year, though, has been a struggle for Province in the league season. 

Their progression to the playoffs went right down to the wire, and they had to rely on a dramatic 30-28 win over Boland at Newlands to book their place. 

The Bulls, meanwhile, have continued their revolution under coach Nollis Marais and won their last four matches of regular season to finish second on the log behind the undefeated Cheetahs. 

Dobson is under no illusions. 

"It would be hard for me to make us favourites for this one," he said from Newlands on Thursday.

"Looking at the bookies, looking at how the Bulls have played since they lost to the Sharks in Durban ... they've just got better and better.

"Looking at the similarities between their Super Rugby side and ours, playing at Loftus, they're playing good rugby ... we're definitely the underdogs, but we like that."

Despite having battled their way through the season so far, Dobson remained confident that his side had shown improvement since last year.

"I feel we're in a better space and we're better organise," he said.

"I think we're better off this time in terms of our own belief and plans than we were in last year's semi.

"We've had about five quarter-finals because every time we were going to lose we were going to get knocked out.

"We've clawed our way into the semis and now it feels like we're playing for something positive. We're playing for a final and not for fear of failing. It's a different mindset now."

Dobson added that Province had received a "huge boost" by welcoming back the Springbok duo of Juan de Jongh and Bongi Mbonambi, who go straight into the starting lineup.

Saturday's clash kicks off at 18:00 and it will follow the first semi-final between the Free State Cheetahs and the Golden Lions, which gets underway at 15:00.


Blue Bulls

15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Joshua Stander, 23 Bjorn Basson/Nic de Jager

Western Province

15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Substitutes: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Johnny Kotze, 23 Scott van Breda


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