Planet Rugby

Coetzee hails WP pack

13th October 2013 20:49

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The Sharks v Western Province Currie Cup rain

Hard graft: Tough battle in Durban

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee was full of praise for their set-piece play after they ended the Currie Cup regular season with victory over the Sharks in Durban.

The Cape side won 17-13 to maintain their unbeaten run in 2013 to end top of the table.

"I think our set-piece was unbelievable," Coetzee said afterwards.

"If you look at a young front row like Steven Kitshoff, who's been outstanding throughout the season with his accuracy. Scarra Ntubeni might be diminutive but he's unbelievably accurate emotionally and is so matured.

"Pat Cilliers was outstanding and those that came on to replace them too.

"But in saying that, it was a complete eight-man effort at scrum time. I'm really pleased we dominated that area tonight and all credit to forwards coach Matt Proudfoot."

The performance was even more pleasing considering the Sharks' all-Springbok front row of Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira.

Despite their shortfall at the set-piece, the Durban outfit still had an opportunity to snatch victory at a wet Kings Park, but substitute Patrick Lambie wasted two straightforward penalties in the sweeping rain, while Fred Zeilinga, who he replaced at fly-half, also missed one attempt.

"The Sharks' goal-kicking wasn't up to the normal standard, they missed quite a number of easy kicks, so we could have been in trouble as well if they kicked those penalties," Coetzee said.

The Province boss also played down talk of hosting the final on October 26 - their first hosting of the competition decider in 12 years - and instead placed emphasis on next week's play-off meeting with the Golden Lions.

"I'm just pleased that we got the result," Coetzee added.

"We achieved the first objective last weekend against the Lions by getting a home semi-final.

"We also wanted to badly go through this competition unbeaten and that's what we achieved tonight and with it we also managed to end top of the log.

"I think it will be foolish to talk about winning the final if you haven't gone through the semis. The big thing for us is to now keep the feet on the ground."

Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson was predictably disappointed, particularly after taking into account the missed efforts at goal.

But he insisted their third loss of the season was not too big of a concern for his team.

"It's disappointing because we potentially had some chances there to get the win," he said.

"We let it slip through our fingers. But we're not down in the dumps at all, there's still a lot to play for. We're looking forward to the semi-final and potentially playing Province again in the final."

Macleod-Henderson was also confident they will be better prepared for next week's semi-final against the Free State Cheetahs in Durban.

"We'll spend some time on our set-piece," he added.

"We made a few too many handling errors, obviously the weather didn't help. If we get that right, I'm sure we'll be okay next week."

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