WP gear up for real deal

Although Vodacom Western Province won’t take much from their 66-13 trouncing of the Valke, Luke Watson confirmed the importance of securing a win and regaining parity.

“It was important to bounce back the way we did against the Valke,” he told keo.co.za. “The rhythm that was missing in the Cheetahs game was back, as was the hunger and the intensity.”

Due to injuries and players extracted for the national training camp, WP were forced to make numerous changes to their starting side. The WP captain lauded the talent available in the greater squad, the scoreline being a tribute to the union’s depth.

“The youngsters really impressed me over the weekend. Players like Francois Louw, Paul Delport and Schalk Ferreira all had outstanding games. I suppose you can’t really call Selborne Boome a youngster, but he was also a prominent feature in Saturday’s brilliant performance.”

While the Valke game did not offer any substantial preparation for the battle at Ellis Park, the match afforded WP the opportunity to reinstall some confidence and momentum.

“I would say that we’ve been preparing for 13 weeks, and so should be ready for the Lions game. But this win got our campaign back on track as we try to nail down a semi-final spot.”

The Lions gave WP a fright the last time the two teams met at Newlands, scoring three unanswered tries in a 20-minute period. The home team escaped with a narrow 30-28 win, but the game had exposed a lack of composure. A far more clinical approach will be needed if they are going to halt the Lions winning run of six on the trot.

“We’ve moved on from that game, and I was pleased with the way we closed out the Valke last Saturday. We haven’t done enough of that this season.

“The Lions are a very exciting side who play the same sort of rugby as Western Province, and it should be a very entertaining match. Loffie Eloff is a great coach and he’s brought through some talented youngsters, and with a guy like Andre Pretorius returning to the mix it offers them plenty of options on attack.”

By Jon Cardinelli