- WP head coach John Dobson commended his players for returning to training this week Covid-free, despite residing in one of the latest hotspots in the country, Cape Town.
- Dobson said they were disappointed not to play the Sharks in their Super Rugby Unlocked final rounds.
- He added that WP wanted to protect the integrity of the competition and to honour every fixture.
Western Province head coach John Dobson commended his players for returning to training this week Covid-free, despite residing in one of the latest hotspots in the country – Cape Town.
Dobson announced his team to face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday, which excluded captain Siya Kolisi, whose wife tested positive for Covid-19.
Kolisi, however, tested negative but has been left out as a precaution.
The rest of the squad came back to training in perfect health on Monday – bar Alistair Vermaak and Salmaan Moerat.
"Our medical staff and players have been exceptional," said Dobson.
"To be in the Western Cape, with our numbers here, and it’s not had any impact on us honouring any fixtures, and having so few Covid-positive cases, is a remarkable achievement.
"The guys subscribe to a certain protocol of behaviour and the fact that we didn’t get one positive case in Tuesday’s testing, credit has to go to the players.
"We all know people who are positive – either friends or family – and for a playing and management group of over 60 to not have a positive case is an amazing reflection on the discipline and how seriously we’re taking it."
Dobson said they were disappointed not to play the Sharks in what would have been a mouth-watering finale to Super Rugby Unlocked in November, after an outbreak in the Durban camp.
The Bulls, who topped the log at that stage, waltzed to their first title under Jake White as a result of both teams being awarded a draw for the cancelled fixture.
An outbreak at the Lions earlier in rugby’s restart also stunted Cheetahs momentum, who had their fixture between the sides declared a stalemate.
Last weekend’s game between the Bulls and Lions was postponed to next week Wednesday after an outbreak in the Bulls squad.
Dobson added that they refrained from practising scrums before Tuesday’s coronavirus test results came in, which belied the norm of their training schedule, to protect the integrity of the competition and to honour every fixture.
"We were disappointed not to play against the Sharks," he said.
"You can question how they allocated the points. In Europe they use a different system.
"For us, we have delivered on our credo and we have honoured every single fixture.
"You want to scrum on Tuesday and work on mauls on Monday but if there’s a positive case it can take out the whole pack and we end up not honouring the fixture.
"If we don’t go to Bloemfontein, we get awarded a draw and we are in the semifinals.
"But we’ve tried to preserve the integrity of the competition by not scrumming on Tuesday … to make sure we can honour fixtures and for the competition’s sake.
"I’m pretty pleased with the effort and discipline of the players."
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 David Meihuizen, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes (from): 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Ruhan Nel, 23Tristan Leyds, 24 Leon Lyons, 25Chad Solomon, 26 Ben-Jason Dixon