A lack of try­ing

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

WESTERN Prov­ince coach John Dob­son says their try-less sec­ond half per­for­mance in their 45-34 win over the Blue Bulls on Sat­ur­day can’t be put down to “not try­ing”.

Prov­ince pro­duced a spec­tac­u­lar first half of rugby at New­lands and scored six tries in the open­ing half to the Bulls’ one to go into half time with a com­mand­ing 42-13 lead, but the Bulls nar­rowed the gap in the sec­ond half and ran in three more tries. Prov­ince, on the other hand, played an al­most en­tirely de­fen­sive role in the sec­ond 40 – so it was a mas­sive pos­i­tive that the hosts’ de­fence was a much-im­proved ef­fort to what they pro­duced in their de­feat to Gri­quas last week.

“That first half was fan­tas­tic. The stan­dard was so high in the first half and we were very frus­trated by what hap­pened in the sec­ond half – not with our per­for­mance, just the cir­cum­stances,” Dob­son said.

“There were some re­ally tough calls in the sec­ond half and we just didn’t have any ball. I was re­ally pleased with our de­fence – the char­ac­ter and the phys­i­cal­ity that was miss­ing (against Gri­quas) was there tonight.”

And as many im­prove­ments as there were against the Bulls, the one neg­a­tive Prov­ince just couldn’t seem to shake was their poor dis­ci­pline which saw them lose out­side cen­tre EW Viljoen and re­place­ment prop Michael Kumbi­rai to yel­low cards.

“We weren’t plan­ning on de­fend­ing the lead, we just couldn’t get go­ing and we started that half with 14 men against a team we knew was go­ing to run ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing. EW is one of the best de­fend­ers at 13 and it was hard to de­fend. But we tried our best and we were un­der pres­sure from then on,” the coach said.

“I hon­estly be­lieve that the sec­ond half was not about not try­ing or get­ting sloppy or any­thing. I think it had to do with the dis­ci­pline and the cards, a string of penal­ties and we just had no ball. We just had no set-piece in their half.”

Apart from what they did on at­tack in the first half, Prov­ince can also be pleased with their per­for­mances in other ar­eas.

Their maul­ing went well, their pack man­han­dled their Bulls coun­ter­parts for large parts of the game, their scrum­mag­ing was ex­cel­lent yet again, and their line-out also func­tioned well, with cap­tain Chris van Zyl – who was su­perb all round – and JD Schick­er­ling putting the op­po­si­tion jumpers un­der good pres­sure.

Prov­ince also rounded off a num­ber of at­tack­ing move­ments re­ally well, but the big­gest im­prove­ment was cer­tainly their de­fence.

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