Fighting talk from Dobson: This WP team will not go away

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

Cape Town - They were a kick away from being dumped out of the Currie Cup semi-finals in front of the Newlands faithful last weekend, and that scare has given Western Province some new-found perspective heading into Saturday's final against the Sharks

WP will be playing in front of their own fans once more, but this time they are hoping for a crowd approaching capacity. 

Securing a home final has been the motivation for Province throughout the 2018 tournament, and now that they have done that coach John Dobson wants the players to take a breath. 

The hard work has been done, and they are now 80 minutes away from a second Currie Cup title in as many years. 

The Sharks, though, are here with a purpose. 

Coach Robert du Preez looked on a year ago as Dobson's charges silenced Kings Park in the 2017 final. That night was supposed to be Du Preez's first major success as Sharks coach, but it all came crashing down. 

It all contributes to what could be an explosive encounter on Saturday. 

The Sharks, with Jean-Luc du Preez, Dan du Preez and Tyler Paul forming their loose trio, boast immense physicality while WP have been easily the most enterprising side in the competition so far. 

The battle lines have been drawn, and Dobson has encouraged his players to use this as one last opportunity to show Newlands what they are capable of.

"I thought last week (against the Blue Bulls), if you saw our body language you could see we were visibly tense," Dobson explained at Thursday's team announcement.

"We had everything to lose last week.

"One thing Chris (Van Zyl, captain) and I have stressed to the team this whole week is to go back to who we are.

"The reason we're unbeaten and that we have a home final is because we play a certain style with smiles on our faces."

That culture of brotherhood and of being a part of something bigger than rugby is something that Dobson has instilled over the past two seasons.

"Guys like Dillyn Leyds and Scarra Ntubeni just epitomise how rugby should be played in this region," he added.

"They are mates on and off the field and they enjoy themselves, and I felt last week we lacked that.

"I know it sounds very romantic, but all we've asked for this week is limited talk about the Sharks and just for our players to say who they are."

In this Newlands story, the Sharks are the villains. 

"We know we're going to have to work incredibly hard against an incredibly physical team that has more Springboks than us," Dobson said.

"With the noise coming from Durban, they obviously think they can win this game easily. But one thing I can promise you is that this team (WP) will not go away and we'll be there at the end."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 16:00.

Teams:

Western Province

15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 SP Marais, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 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 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 JJ Engelbrecht

Sharks

15 Curwin Bosch, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Tyler Paul, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Juan Schoeman 

Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Jacques Vermeulen, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Leolin Zas

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