WP hoping for Newlands send-off

Coach John Dobson says Western Province have shifted their focus to ensuring they are at their best in the Currie Cup semi-final against the Sharks.

Following the cancellation of their final league fixture against the Durban side on Saturday due to Covid-19 protocols, Western Province will finish in second place in the Currie Cup standings.

While there are still two matches to be played this weekend, neither of them will have an impact on the final positions of the top-four teams, which means that the semi-final teams are set.

Having missed out on facing the Sharks both in Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup due to Covid-19 protocols, Western Province are set to finally face their coastal rivals in a home semi-final, with the match details to be confirmed by Saru following the completion of the final league fixtures this weekend.

While frustrated with the disruption of this latest cancellation, Western Province coach John Dobson says that his team’s focus will now be on pouring everything they have into ensuring they are at their best in the semi.

‘While it is very disappointing to have our game this weekend called off, we respect the regulations and the need to put everyone’s safety first.

‘We now know that we will be playing the Sharks in our semi-final, so our focus right now is on ensuring that we are as well prepared for that challenge as possible,’ he said.

Given the current uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 situation across the country and in South African rugby, Dobson and his charges will wait for official confirmation of the date, time and venue of their semi-final.

‘Having finished in second position, it means a lot to our team and indeed our supporters, for us to be able to play our semi-final at Newlands.

‘We know that these are extraordinary times, but we remain hopeful that we will still get the opportunity to run out in a Currie Cup playoff game in the famous blue-and-white hooped jersey at the stadium which holds such a dear place in the hearts of everyone who has watched and supported rugby in South Africa,’ he said.

Dobson wished the Sharks players and management all the best in their efforts to curb the effects of Covid-19 in their camp.

‘A Currie Cup semi-final between Western Province and the Sharks is a true spectacle and we would not want anything to diminish that. We hope that our opponents can recover quickly so that we can focus on the business of playing rugby on what should be a great occasion,’ he said.

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Craig Lewis