Western Province coach John Dobson says Jaco Coetzee’s ability to poach got him into the team for the final against the Sharks over Juarno Augustus. DYLAN JACK reports.
Augustus, affectionately known as ‘Trokkie’, started in the semi-final against the Bulls but has surprisingly been left out of the match 23 for the final at Newlands.
With Springbok loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe recovered from the injury that caused him to miss the semi-final, the decision effectively came down to who would be the better substitute between Augustus and Coetzee. Dobson said he favoured Coetzee due to his ability to play a fetcher role.
‘Obviously Notshe is part of the Springboks and he was injured last week,’ Dobson said. ‘But I thought Jaco Coetzee was outstanding in the semi-final, it was that simple.
‘They are very like-for-like players, Jaco and Trokkie, both physical. Jaco may have the edge in stealing, so if we need a No 6, someone who can play to the ball and slow it down, he is fit again. He played No 6 in last year’s semi-final and would have played last year’s final if he had been fit. It is a big call on Trokkie.’
The Sharks opted for an equally sizeable loose trio, as Tyler Paul, who was initially used as a lock in his breakthrough season for the Kings, shifts to No 6 to make way for Jean-Luc du Preez with twin brother Dan at No 8.
As Dobson explained his side’s defensive tactics, it seemed to suggest that Saturday’s match may not have much in the way of competing at the breakdown as both sides lack a natural fetcher.
‘We want legal linespeed but the key is going to be double-tackles. One guy in high and one guy in low. The low guy stops him and we are generally a double-tackling union.
‘We haven’t got a very strong skill set in terms of poaching. That second guy needs to get high and wrap the ball, so the first guy stops the carrier and the second guy stops the offload.’
Province captain Chris van Zyl added that the set-piece battle would be key as to who comes out on top on Saturday.
‘I think we have good plans for the weekend,’ Van Zyl said. ‘They are a good lineout outfit so we have done our prep on both contesting and taking the options that we see are on.
‘It will be a key part of the game. Getting clean first phase ball will definitely be a focus of ours and [we will] try and stop them getting it as well.’
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) October 22, 2018
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images