Despite fielding a second-string XV in their defeat to the Sharks on Saturday, WP coach Allister Coetzee said the loss still hurts.
Despite fielding a second-string side in their 28-20 defeat to the Sharks on Saturday, Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said the loss still hurts.
Coming into the game, Province were assured of top position on the table and a home semi-final as the hosts explored the depth in their squad.
“We never enjoy losing at Newlands,” said Coetzee.
“Things did not go our way in the second half and it started with our set-piece.
“It was important though that the players kept doing their best for the sake of the jersey.
“The match showed that we have good depth in the squad.”
The Sharks trailed 20-11 at the break, but scored 17 unanswered second-half points as Province’s set-piece play disintegrated often.
Sharks coach Brad MacLeod-Henderson said after the match that he had anticipated many of the Province second-stringers would use the match to enhance their reputation, with the view to pressing their semi-final selection claims.
“It was the sort of start we expected from Province because we knew there would be a few guys who would be really excited about playing (for Province),” he said.
“We’ll go back home knowing we beat Province in Cape Town, and that the winning momentum was with us. For us, it was a good win today.”
The Sharks mentor said the half-time score deficit posed a big challenge for his side and he was pleased the team rose to the occasion when it mattered.
“We came out in the second half for a fight and we came out on top. We saw how the Lions played (earlier) today and after our performance today we know what we need to do, and what’s in store for us,” added MacLeod-Henderson.
Coetzee, meanwhile, was pleased with the individual performances of lock Gerbrandt Grobler, prop Oli Kebble, flank Rhynardt Elstadt, loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Brok Harris who scrummed down at tighthead and loosehead in the match.
“Grobler looked good in his first match (after a long injury lay-off) and Kebble dominated the collisions at times,” said Coetzee.
“Elstadt was unlucky to be yellow-carded for a team offence and Notshe showed that he can be effective as an number eight as well as an open-sider (flank).
The Lions will meet the Sharks in the first semi-final on Saturday at 2.30pm, in Johannesburg, and Province will go up against the Bulls at 5pm in Cape Town.