Friday night’s forward scrap in Brakpan brought out the best in the young Cape Town back row, who continue to improve with every game.
Luke Watson, Justin Melck and Robbie Diack were once again a huge factor in securing the win for Vodacom Western Province over the Valke this past weekend. Watson’s form as an openside has been well acknowledged, but a lot of the credit needs to go to Melck and Diack as well.
“They complement each other very well,” Kobus van der Merwe told keo.co.za. “It’s a great balance having a big guy like Robbie with his ball-carrying ability and then the two smaller guys like Luke and Justin getting through a hell of a lot of work at the breakdown.”
Diack has been one of the finds of the season for WP, and at the age of 20, has a very bright future ahead of him.
“We obviously lost out when Joe [van Niekerk] got called up to the Boks, but Robbie has taken his opportunity with both hands,” said Van der Merwe.
“There’s a lot of competition in the side right now for a place in the back row. When you’ve got a phenomenal talent like Pieter Louw waiting in the wings, it just shows how well Robbie is playing. There’s nothing much in terms of skill between them, but Robbie’s in the groove now and so continues to get a start. He’s the complete package: he’s mobile around the park, gives us another option in the line-out and provides great momentum off the base of the scrum.”
Watson had similar praise for his flanking partner Melck. “He does a lot of the hard graft on the ground and is the type of guy who never stands back,” he said. “It’s great to have someone like that in the side who you don’t even need to speak to before the game, you just know he’s going to give you 100% every time.”
The rampant Province pack will take on the struggling Lions on Saturday at Newlands. Coming off a loss to Griquas, they should be fair game for WP, who have only lost one game in the competition. But Watson remains grounded and will treat the men from the north with respect.
“We don’t pay much attention to the past week’s results. It’s more about getting our own game right on the day and maintaining concentration. We let it slip a bit against the Valke and so we will be looking to cut mistakes out our game and remain focused.”
By Jon Cardinelli