Allister Coetzee isn’t expecting too many surprises when the Lions visit Newlands this Saturday.
Coetzee spoke this week about the influence of World Cup-winning coach Jake White, who is currently involved at the Lions as a consultant, and the threat of the Lions’ forwards in the loose and tight. With regards to these aspects, the Province coach said the home team had done their homework.
‘Here at Province, we can’t worry too much about who is coaching them or who is involved in their coaching structures, but we certainly know what to expect,’ Coetzee told keo.co.za.
‘They have a very physical pack that commands respect, and I know Jake has always been a fan of big forwards. I also know about the defensive system he has favoured since 2004, and I’m aware of how the Lions have used the rush defence this season. They do that to create panic and place the attacking team under pressure.
‘We’ll have to be wary of that defensive system, and we’ll need to be good at the collisions. Against a team like the Lions, you need to dominate the gain line.
‘In Baywatch Grobbelaar, they have an excellent forager while Willem Alberts is one of their best ball-carriers. Their scrum was good against the Sharks and they dominated possession for most of the game last week. We know it’s going to be a big challenge.’
Coetzee said WP won’t read anything into the Lions’ recent loss to the Sharks and that knowing what to expect from a physical viewpoint hardly makes their task easier.
What does inspire confidence is the form of the Province pack this season. Apart from an improved scrumming showing, the WP lineout has been superb.
‘The Lions setpiece has always been good, so we will have to deliver another solid performance up front,’ said Coetzee. ‘If we can establish that solid base, we will then need to deliver a more clinical performance through the attacking phases.’
Due to the apocalyptic weather that plagued Cape Town on Tuesday, WP have changed the training schedule accordingly. Torrential rain made practice impossible on Tuesday and Wednesday’s sessions have also been postponed due to the slippery surface.
WP are yet to play a home match in dry conditions, but the good news is there is no rain forecast for Saturday.
By Jon Cardinelli