Newlands Stadium. Picture: BACKPAGEPIX
Newlands Stadium. Picture: BACKPAGEPIX

Saturday may be the last time Western Province play at Newlands but you won’t find the team labouring the point.

Assistant coach Dawie Snyman acknowledged they may take some extra motivation into battle against the Sharks in their Currie Cup semifinal but was clear the sense of occasion and purpose that may come with it will not determine the result.

“It won’t win us the game but it will give us a bit of extra motivation‚” said Snyman about the semifinal that may be the last competitive match at the stadium that carries 133 years of history.

By the time the match kicks off at 4.30pm on Saturday‚ Western Province will know whether they can still attain the long-held objective of hosting the final. That will only happen if the Lions pull off an upset win in their semifinal at Loftus and deny the Bulls hosting rights for the final.

You get the sense Western Province have resigned themselves to the fact that the Blue Bulls will lie in wait in the final.

“It will be a huge honour for the players if it is our last match at Newlands‚” said Snyman. “[We want to] make sure we leave it a happy place. Make sure that it is memorable for everyone that is watching. It is closing off an amazing chapter.

“For the players running on it will be an honour because they are doing it not just for the union but the players who have played here before. We are not looking past this game‚” said Snyman.

Star scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies is entirely focused on the opposition and what needs to be done to vanquish the Sharks.

“Our motivation this week is purely on beating the Sharks and ticking that box‚ regardless what happens between the Lions and the Bulls.

“If the Lions beat the Bulls and we lose to the Sharks, we are done anyway. We can only start worrying about that after our 80 minutes are done and we are on top on the scoreboard‚” said Jantjies.

Though Western Province have been given a clean bill of health‚ apart from the players who are on the long-term injury list‚ they are sweating on the availability of influential loose head prop Steven Kitshoff. Covid-19 protocols will determine whether the Springbok front ranker will get the all-clear for the clash. Kitshoff may have had contact with an active case.

“He didn’t train but it was just a precautionary measure‚” said Snyman.

He confirmed that the players‚ including regular captain Siya Kolisi‚ who had been self-isolating are available for the match.

“We tested on Sunday and everyone was negative. The guys coming back from self-isolation because of close contact are also available. Injury-wise, we are fully fit. Only the long-term injuries are out.”

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