John Dobson will stick with the stalwarts of Western Province’s Currie Cup campaign and won’t immediately flood the team with Stormers stars.
With two rounds of league action remaining in the Currie Cup, Western Province currently sit in fourth place with six wins in 12 matches.
It has been an admirable effort from a team that has had to mix and match youngsters with a handful of club rugby stars as the Vodacom United Rugby Championship has coincided with South Africa’s domestic tournament.
However, with the URC having concluded, Dobson would have been justified to start loading the WP team with the stars that helped the Stormers power into the final.
This is especially true as the race for semi-final places in the Currie Cup is heating up. Western Province, the Lions and the Vodacom Bulls are all level on 31 log points, while seventh-placed Griquas trail by one point.
Speaking after the URC final, Dobson said that, aside from some of the fringe players such as Willie Engelbrecht and Marcel Theunissen, he will avoid shoving a Stormers team into the Currie Cup.
“There’s a human element to it as well. We lost 34-12 to the Lions, but hell, did we put in a good performance. You get 34-12 and then you get 34-12, if that makes any sense. I was proud of them,” said Dobson.
“So I think we will give guys like Marcel and Willie, who haven’t had much time, [Leolin] Zas was injured for a long time. I am not just going to flick and bump all the Stormers down there now, no.
“Some of the guys, like Conor Evans and Adre Smith, were awesome against the Lions. It’s not fair on them to go, ‘Ok, URC season is over, here comes Ruben van Heerden’. It will be a bit of a mix.
“We will give the Currie Cup a scrap now and have a go,” added Dobson. “We probably have to win both of our games against Griquas and Sharks. We will definitely give it a go. That was always our plan: to scrape into the Currie Cup semi-finals. I knew it would be tough. The truth is that we have been playing in the URC for longer than the other franchises and they have URC-ed up.
“The Currie Cup has massive emotion and pride, so we will give it a go, but it won’t be at the expense of those guys who have been fighting. It will be a mixture. We will drip some in this week and maybe more in the week after.”
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