Coetzee wants better adaptability
Considering the conditions his team encountered it would be easy for Western Province coach Allister Coetzee to dismiss the Absa Currie Cup defeat to the Sharks as just an aberration -- but he is not going to do that.
Coetzee admitted that what he called WP’s inability to react properly to the pressure they were placed under in the Durban match was a concern, and was the subject of an extensive team meeting on Monday.
“The conditions were awful and from that viewpoint I understand what would be meant if you just said we should forget about it and move on, but there are things we need to address moving forward that I was disappointed with,” said Coetzee.
“It’s not so much the reaction to the pressure as such, but the way we failed to adapt to the conditions quickly enough and play the game that was required. We are trying to play a new possession orientated game, so it is understandable that we were caught a bit off-guard. Obviously we couldn’t play that sort of rugby on such a wet day on a waterlogged field.
“In that sense, without wanting to make an excuse, the Sharks did have an advantage in that they would have experienced those conditions for much of the week. We hear they were training for a wet weather game. We weren’t as prepared, and on the day we didn’t adapt like we should have. You need to be able to adapt quickly if you are going to become a consistent winning team. What happens if we encounter conditions like that in a final?”
An appearance in a final is still something that Coetzee is confident of achieving despite the disappointment of the Durban defeat.
“As I said to the players when we met today, we were in precisely the same position after the first game in the first round, when we also lost to the Sharks, but at Newlands. We came back after that to finish tied at the top of the log after the first round was completed, so there is no reason we can’t do it again.”
Coetzee is right about that. The Sharks and Lions meet in a top of the log clash in Johannesburg on Saturday, and unless there is a draw one of them is going to fall back towards the chasing pack. WP are currently five log points behind last year’s two finalists, level with Griquas, who they face at Newlands on Saturday.
“We have a lot of respect for what Griquas have achieved in their last three matches and we are expecting them to come to Cape Town with the same busy running approach that saw them beat the Lions, Sharks and Bulls. They also have several players initially from the Cape, which always adds a bit to the intensity. But we know that and we know what to expect. After the Durban defeat we are determined to bounce back strongly.”