Western Province coach John Dobson says his side will be ready for the Pumas’ kicking game in Nelspruit on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Province will face a Pumas side that beat them 22-12 at the same venue last year.
The visitors have made a couple of changes to their starting lineup, with Springboks Wilco Louw and Damian de Allende coming in for Michael Kumbirai and Dan Kriel respectively.
Dobson says he doesn’t expect the changes to disrupt his team’s momentum as they look for a second successive win before a bye.
‘Not all of the changes are voluntary, but obviously we can’t say no to Wilco and Damian. Guys like Wilco, De Allende and [Sikhumbuzo] Notshe are so ingrained in our culture and team.
‘They are Province men through and through. They add a lot and they have bought into what we are doing. It is not like these are superstars that we haven’t seen for months.’
Dillyn Leyds will again lead the team, this time from fullback, with SP Marais – who played at fullback against the Cheetahs – shifting to the left wing and Sergeal Petersen starting on the right.
‘All three are brilliant in the air and we know what is coming from [Pumas scrumhalf Stefan] Ungerer. We felt that for this game, with Dillyn’s counter-attacking skills, he has a few more options from 15. He has a bit more freedom to strike from fullback.
‘The Pumas play a more traditional South African game. We know what is coming. They have a big pack of forwards, strong maul, massive kicking game from Ungerer and they get real energy when they get into our 22. It is very much Plan A rugby and we are prepared for that.’
‘At the moment, the guys can laugh and make a joke about what happened last year,’ he said. ‘But their kicking game can get a bit frustrating. If they kick well, no matter who we have, it will frustrate us and we will try things that we wouldn’t normally do.
‘We need to focus on the plans that we have going into the game and nullify their strengths. We have a good idea of what we want to do.
‘We need to get five points on Friday and then we will head to Ellis Park [after the bye] in a really strong position.’
Photo: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images