Dobson opts for horses for courses
WESTERN Province coach John Dobson says there is a “desperation to correct wrongs” against the Sharks in Durban tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
At Ellis Park last week, Province, who were in command for most of the Currie Cup match against the Golden Lions, lost control of the contest in the last quarter and lost yet another away match.
Their only successful trip came against the Blue Bulls a few weeks ago.
As they prepare to go all out to secure not only a win but a home semi-final, too, this weekend, Dobson hoped that his team can produce a sustained performance to bag a win at sea level.
“Every game that we’ve lost we had at least a 10-point lead in at some stage. It’s not our conditioning. It seems that we lack the killer instinct to finish. Last week we led until the 73rd minute,” Dobson said yesterday.
“There is a concern regarding away games, and if it has something to do with altitude, this is the first away game at sea level, so we haven’t got that excuse. There’s a desperation to correct the wrongs of last week, and hopefully it will see us through.”
Province have been boosted by the return of Springboks Dillyn Leyds and Wilco Louw and Dobson said that Louw, a powerful scrummager, has a lot more “swagger” since his taste of international rugby.
“Wilco versus Thomas du Toit is going to be a great battle. He described that (Newlands Test) as the best day of his life. And you can just feel there’s a lot more confidence and swagger about him now. I’m excited to see that.”
While Louw will bolster Province’s front row, Leyds will do the same for an already-fine backline.
Leyds will start on the wing in Durban, while Damian Willemse occupies the Bok’s regular fullback spot. Sevens recruit Ruhan Nel will start at inside centre while Huw Jones shifts to No 13.
Dobson also explained that given the Sharks’ style of play and the unfavourable weather conditions expected in Durban, Robert du Preez at flyhalf and both Damian Willemse and Leyds out wide would be a good way to keep the Sharks’ kicking game in check.
“The Sharks are a very territory-based team, very good kicking game, and we felt that to have two fullbacks at the back there is a good thing. Also, we felt that Rob did well with the territory last week, and for a Damian or Rob to miss out wouldn’t have been the right thing at this stage.
“The field is going to be very heavy, maybe we have a bit of rain and a howling wind. The more guys we have who are comfortable with a kicking game, the better.
“We’ve got ourselves into a position where we have to play match for match, horses for courses. So that’s why we’ve gone with Rob. It might not be the same next week.”
With Du Preez set to join his father and brothers Jean-Luc and Dan at the Sharks, Dobson said that the move might galvanise Du Preez to perform even better.