Dobson opens up on Western Province future

John Dobson (Gallo Images)
John Dobson (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Having won the Currie Cup in 2017, Western Province coach John Dobson looks good to do the double by winning the competition again this year. 

There are, of course, still two massive matches to come before that happens, but it is safe to say that this WP side has been in a different league throughout the shortened 2018 competition. 

Six wins from six with maximum log points and 38 tries scored, Province now turn their attention to the Blue Bulls for Saturday's semi-final at Newlands. 

Following last weekend's 34-7 one-half drubbing of the same opposition at Loftus, WP are overwhelming favourites to book their place in this year's final, which would then be played in Cape Town. 

And, as a result of the success that this Currie Cup side has had over the last two years, Dobson has become one of the most respected young coaches in the country. 

He works closely with Robbie Fleck's Super Rugby side where the breakdown is his area of expertise, but Dobson is showing that he is potentially capable of a lot more. 

The spirit in this Western Province side, both on and off the field, is tangible. 

While that does come with winning rugby matches, much of it is down to the culture of brotherhood that Dobson has instilled at the union. 

Following the departure of Bulls coach John Mitchell to England, reports surfaced that Dobson was being lined up to make the move up north. 

There have also been growing choruses for him to play more of a role in the Super Rugby side. 

Fleck, under pressure after missing out on the playoffs this year, has one more season left on his contract and 2019 is shaping up to be a make or break year for the former Springbok centre. 

On Thursday, after announcing his side for the Blue Bulls clash, Dobson was asked to discuss his future and the Bulls link. 

One of the more media-savvy coaches on the current circuit, Dobson initially played the question back with the straightest of bats.

"I'm going to have to give you a cliched answer and say that I'm focusing on the Currie Cup," he said, before opening up more in a way that would have been encouraging to Western Province supporters. 

"I would like to be part of something special here because I think over the next three or four years ... this union could do something," he said. 

Dobson pointed to the likes of Kobus van Dyk, Ernst van Rhyn, Herschel Jantjies, Dan Kriel and Josh Stander who have had breakthrough years this Currie Cup and have been instrumental to WP's success. 

"It's very rewarding to build that and I would like to keep going with that," he said.

"We could probably achieve more at this union in the next few years than we have in the past and I would like to be part of it."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:00.


Western Province

15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 SP Marais, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak

Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Josh Stander, 23 JJ Engelbrecht

Blue Bulls

15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Dylan Sage, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hendre Stassen, 3 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Franco Naude

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