Western Province coach John Dobson and captain Chris van Zyl say lost lineouts cost them dearly in their 17-12 Currie Cup final defeat to the Sharks. DYLAN JACK reports.
The home side were largely expected to defend their title, but in sweltering conditions at Newlands, they struggled to get any kind of clean lineout ball to launch their attacks.
Both starting hooker Bongi Mbonambi and replacement Scarra Ntubeni had issues finding their jumpers.
Dobson said their faulty set piece was a contributing factor to the defeat.
‘What is important is to look at facts and not the emotion of it. If you are going to lose eight lineouts, you are making another 40 tackles. It is very hard to defend turnovers, when we are going backwards and they are going forward at such a speed.
‘We have got to look at it properly. I know there was one overthrow, one underthrow, one wrong call, so it seemed to be a combination.
‘We should have gone to a bail-out ball, that is taking it really simple. We kept trying to push it to the middle and back-ball to attack from. We should have been more conservative there.
‘The overriding thing is that if we had won six of those lineouts, it could have been a different result. We lost by five points. If we had won those lineouts, it is guaranteed that we would have scored one try.’
Dobson confirmed that Mbonambi was removed due to fatigue and that there was a plan to give Ntubeni an extended run in the match.
‘Bongi could have pushed on, but he was pretty stuffed at half-time and when I asked whether he could carry on he took a while to answer. Our plan was to give Scarra a longer run anyway.’
Province captain Chris van Zyl could not shed light on what exactly went wrong at the lineouts, but added that the hosts should have adapted their approach earlier in the final.
‘Last year on our way to the final we really struggled with our lineout and yet in the playoffs I don’t think we lost one, which is contrary to what happened this year.
‘If you get into the right areas and back an option that is pre-planned, that makes it difficult. Had some of those mauls got going, you are looking at a different game.
‘That is probably the most frustrating thing, it is not the way we saw it pan out. I just wish we had adjusted earlier to ensure that we had got more ball.’
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images