Dob­son hopes to kick­start Province’s Cur­rie Cup cam­paign

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

WEST­ERN PROVINCE coach John Dob­son is adamant they won’t un­der­es­ti­mate the Pu­mas at New­lands to­day (kick-off 1 pm).

Province will be look­ing to shift their Cur­rie Cup cam­paign into gear after suf­fer­ing a 30-17 defeat to the Free State Chee­tahs in Bloem­fontein last week­end.

Dob­son also added that next week’s tough sched­ule made this game even more im­por­tant.

After their fix­ture against the Pu­mas, Province will travel to Kim­ber­ley to play Gri­quas on Wed­nes­day, be­fore fly­ing back on Thurs­day to host the Bulls on Satur­day.

“What’s re­ally im­por­tant for us is the next three games in seven days. So a good start this week­end is im­por­tant,” Dob­son said.

“That is the con­se­quence of last week (the fact that there is no room for com­pla­cency). We have to win these next three.”

Cap­tain and lock Chris van Zyl also said the team were ea­ger to right the wrongs of last week.

“There were a lot of pos­i­tives to take from that game… we didn’t back out.”

“For­tu­nately enough we have a lot of guys com­ing back, so for this week­end there’s this feel­ing of re­ally want­ing to kick this cam­paign off prop­erly,” Van Zyl said.

And the fact WP wel­comed back a lot of Su­per Rugby ex­pe­ri­ence will cer­tainly help that cause.

Last week, Province fielded a com­bi­na­tion of Su­per ex­pe­ri­ence and Su­perS­port Rugby Chal­lenge play­ers, and this week they boast sig­nif­i­cantly more Storm­ers play­ers.

Fly­half Damian Willemse is the only player in the out­fit who will make his WP de­but, and the Pu­mas will field a team with a num­ber of Cur­rie Cup debu­tants, in­clud­ing flanker Chris Cloete.

Cloete, who was on loan to the Kings for their Su­per Rugby run, should be one of the Pu­mas’ men brightly marked by Province, as the 26-year-old has become known as a men­ace at the break­downs, and his ball-steal­ing and de­fen­sive abil­i­ties have made him a much talked-about prospect this sea­son.

But Province will also have one man whose per­for­mance is highly an­tic­i­pated – Willemse will be look­ing to em­u­late the at­tack­ing fi­nesse he has shown in the Storm­ers jersey, and it will be a treat to see how the 19-year-old con­tin­ues to grow. – Wynona Louw

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