Western Province defence coach Norman Laker says the team can build on the defensive display from their 34-7 win against the Blue Bulls over the weekend. DYLAN JACK reports.
Province will face the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday in the second semi-final after striking a psychological blow in a rain-affected one-half match in Pretoria.
The Cape side is expecting to have a close to fully fit squad for the game, with scrumhalf Jano Vermaak the only doubt as he struggles to recover from a cracked hand.
‘It is a difficult one, but a nice headache to have,’ Laker said. ‘But it is early in the week so we have not yet fully discussed the team selection. But it is nice with so many quality players in the squad at the moment.’
Province, who did plenty of damage without the ball against the Bulls, will continue with the counter-attacking approach that has served them well this season, and Laker emphasised that the team with the best defensive set-up will progress to the final.
‘We will continue with how we play. It is who we are and what we stand for. Obviously, the other part is that we must make sure our defence is perfect in these types of games. If the opposition does get an opportunity, we must make sure they do not score. That will be the difference.
‘We pride ourselves on our defence. I must compliment the guys about how hard they work on and off the field. We are not perfect yet. We still conceded one try this past weekend so we still have quite a few things that we have to improve before Saturday.’
Laker said he was impressed with his team’s performance but admitted they are expecting a backlash from the Bulls.
‘The big takeout is that we only conceded the one try in the 40 minutes. If we can keep that up for 80 minutes, I will be a happy man. It is going to be tough because a semi-final is never the same as a league game.
‘It is a wonderful opportunity that you get. You only get one opportunity to play and you must make full use of it. There are no second chances in this game.’
Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images