Dobson: Bloem test for WP
WESTERN Province coach John Dobson is hoping they can take the “winning momentum” of the Stormers and the SuperSport Rugby Challenge teams into their Currie Cup opener against the Free State Cheetahs on Sunday.
WP travel to Bloemfontein on Friday to open their campaign after they had a bye in the first round. And with the Stormers being Super Rugby’s Africa 1 conference winners and the SuperSport Challenge team having won the competition after going into the final unbeaten and making it 11 out of 11, Dobson is banking on players from both squads to add their winning mix to the Currie Cup.
“Hopefully the winning momentum that has built up among the Stormers and the SuperSport team can help us a little bit in terms of our belief.”
At WP’s first Currie Cup press conference of the season at the team’s training base in Bellville yesterday, Dobson said the team for Sunday would probably consist of SuperSport Challenge players and Stormers who didn’t get a lot of Super Rugby game time.
The former Ikey Tigers coach also confirmed that hooker Scarra Ntubeni, who missed the whole Super Rugby season after being ruled out with an Achilles tendon tear last season, will definitely get some game time this weekend.
“It’s going to be a very hard game for us. The Stormers went up there a few weeks ago and they had a tough one. So to go up there with largely a SuperSport team is going to be tough,” Dobson said.
“We planned around the Stormers being in the semifinasl, so we’ll look at the guys who played a lot and had a lot of game time, so you can expect more of the guys who didn’t get as much game time. So it will be sort of a hybrid.”
Starting the season with a bye can be interpreted in a number of ways, but for Dobson it’s a positive, as he believes their bye “probably avoided” them a loss.
Had they played last week, WP would have been without their Stormers, although not many of the regular starters are expected to feature.
Asked what he expected from the Cheetahs, who lifted the Currie Cup after winning all their games last season, Dobson said he was expecting the same kind of energy from them they displayed against the Stormers three weeks ago.
“I suspect that they’re probably going to try and get as much Currie Cup points as they can before they go into the Pro12, because I think they had a great Currie Cup success story last year.
“They are probably targeting this game as a must-win. They essentially have a Super Rugby team, so we’re going to have to try and do something special. So we’re in for a tough afternoon.”