The third and final game of 2006 between rivals Vodacom Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls will once again revolve around possession, or more pertinently, the ability to steal it.
Bulls coach Pote Human went on record earlier this week berating WP captain Luke Watson for illegal tactics at the breakdown. Human stated that he would have a word with referee Marius Jonker ahead of the game to ensure that the Province openside remains within the realms of the law.
Watson commented on Human’s allegations, dismissing it as nothing more than a big match jibe. He has faith that the referee for this semi-final, Marius Jonker, will call the game correctly.
“Marius Jonker is a very good referee, and all that I am hoping for is that he is consistent,” said Watson. “The referees in general have been very strict, and I think Marius won’t be afraid to pull out some cards if things get out of hand.
“Those comments are not going to stop us from attacking at the breakdown. Our pattern of play is very different to that of the Bulls loose trio, as we prefer to play more to the ball and it has been successful for us this season.
“The banter will always be part of the game, but it won’t effect our focus. Once we get out onto the field all of that won’t matter anyway.”
The battle of the back rows should be a classic, with the Bulls playing two of the incumbent Springbok loose forwards Pedrie Wannenburg and Pierre Spies. WP’s Robbie Diack and Luke Watson will once again be under the spotlight, and this could be the last opportunity they have to push for an inclusion to the South African side touring the UK in November.
But the WP captain downplayed this suggestion, stating that he has very singular aims in mind at the moment.
“My only goal is a Currie Cup final at Newlands next week,” he said. “It would be irresponsible of me as a captain to place my own agenda before that of the team.”
By Jon Cardinelli