‘Whiteline fever’ hampering WP

Allister Coetzee says WP need to work on their composure at crucial moments ahead of their clash with the Lions on Saturday.

In the win over Boland, Western Province wasted many scoring opportunities in the first half. They managed to find their rhythm late in the game to secure the five log points, but Coetzee believes their finishing is still an area of concern.

‘We find it hard when we hit the deck at the 25m line,’ he told keo.co.za. ‘The players need to work and build on that patience.

‘The team works hard to get to that point, so we need to build a lot of pressure. That’s the time we need to compose ourselves and get away with points.’

Coetzee said this was something the Sharks did very well against the Lions last week.

‘From what I saw, they were really executing well and scored at every opportunity. Apart from Ryan Kankowski’s individual brilliance, they applied pressure and came away with the points.

‘Only in the final moments were the Lions allowed to enforce their game plan and score, but the Sharks did well to suffocate and strangle their opposition.’

The WP coach did, however, acknowledge the threat of the Lions this weekend.

‘They pride themselves on the amount of pressure they exert on the opposition. They like to dominate at the set pieces, like the scrums and lineouts, and they make life difficult at the breakdowns.

‘Another strength is their rush defence, which rattles a team and creates panic. That’s where Jake White’s influence has come in.’

The match at Newlands will be WP’s fourth home game of the season, and Coetzee will be focusing on collecting maximum points, considering that they missed out on a semi-final berth last season by one solitary point.

‘The team planned to come off a win last week and we have achieved that. However, we haven’t arrived yet.

‘Securing a bonus-point win in our home games will be crucial. If we can end the first round with 24 or 25 points, then we will be in a good position.’

With Willem de Waal and Sireli Naqelevuki out for four weeks with a back and knee injury respectively, Coetzee won’t be looking to make any drastic changes to his team.

‘One needs to make changes with your head only when you need to make changes. If there’s no real need, then I won’t.

‘I’ll have more or less the same squad. If there is a change, it will be on the bench.’

By Gareth Duncan