Dobson expects WP to keep flying high despite loss of three Bok stars
Western Province have made a strong statement of intent in the early stages of the Currie Cup by gaining a maximum 10 points from two games‚ indicating the title they won in 2017 will have to be prised from their grasp.
Friday’s 57-28 win over the Pumas in Nelspruit followed a 32-0 thrashing of the Cheetahs at Newlands the week before.
WP and the Golden Lions are the only unbeaten teams in the tournament. They will clash at Ellis Park in a fortnight.
Coach John Dobson has blooded several youngsters while also relying on some seasoned Springboks. But he will be without Wilco Louw‚ Damian de Allende and Sikhumbuzo Notshe for at least two weeks as they jetted to Australasia with the Springboks on Saturday.
Losing that seam of talent will test the depth at the union‚ but the coach is not concerned.
"Youngsters such as Herschel Jantjies and Ernst van Rhyn really stood up against the Pumas‚" Dobson said.
"And we still have the likes of Dan Kriel‚ Chris Massyn‚ JJ Engelbrecht and Salmaan Moerat‚ who will all be nicely rested for Ellis Park.
"The Springboks in the group also really played well and showed great commitment‚ which when you consider they were jumping on a plane to join the Boks for Australia less than 24 hours after the Pumas match shows how good the culture is in this team," Dobson said.
WP scored eight tries against the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium‚ a healthy return at a venue where they lost last season.
"We were reasonably happy with the performance and the conditions allowed us to play with width and tempo‚" the coach said.
"We slacked off a bit late in the first half‚ which allowed them two tries. But generally I was happy with our breakdown and the speed of play.
"On the downside, we probably didn’t look after the ball as well as we could have at times and our exit play wasn’t as effective as it should have been.
"When you score eight tries you receive nine restarts [counting kickoff to one of the halves] and we should have been a little better. But that is something we can fix easily by working on it. I was also happy with how we closed the game out‚ although two little mistakes led to late tries for them.
"We got a bit loose at the end‚ which was probably because the game was won," he said.
There were no major injury concerns for the team, although utility back Craig Barry suffered a slight ankle injury.