WP at a canter

Western Province are a settled side who are playing for each other says Tank Lanning in his Sport24 column this week, and playing a more attacking game the players look more happy to play.

As a fan, I am absolutely thrilled to see both Bismarck du Plessis and Skarra Ntubeni going head to head in the middle of the scrum come Saturday afternoon for the Currie cup final …

What I am less thrilled about is the fact that Advocate André Oosthuizen, the man who cleared Bismarck du Plessis of stamping on Free State flank Pieter Labuschagne at a SARU judicial hearing on Tuesday, deemed me thick enough to believe his reason for the clearance – that it was accidental!

He might as well have sent us all Dunce’s caps at the same time …

Call it lacking in reaching a red card threshold, or just say the yellow card was enough of a punishment, but do not treat us like 4 year olds with our heads stuck in the sand!

Look, I thought Ntubeni was lucky not to be cited after his tip tackle in WP’s semi-final against the Lions, and Du Plessis certainly got the rough end of the stick in being issued a red card for his so called illegal tackle on Dan Carter earlier in the year, so perhaps rugby karma has prevailed.

But let us remember this ruling the next time Richie McCaw or Ben Franks is cleared of any wrong doing in the build up to a game against the Boks or an SA franchise in next year’s Super Rugby. I have very little doubt that Saturday’s game at Newlands played it’s part in this ruling …

And what a game it is destined to be …

WP and the Sharks have been the stand out sides of the Currie Cup, with their respective semi-finals on the weekend proving what the log points had suggested going into the weekend, that there has been a pretty big gap between these two sides and the rest this year.

And while WP might have made more use of the firepower they have out wide, both games were decided by incredibly astute use of the boot at flyhalf. The battle between Demitri Catrakilis and Pat Lambie will be one for the ages, the former having developed hugely as a player in keeping the under pressure Kings in many of their Super Rugby games earlier in the year. The latter, incredibly, seemingly still in need of persuading Bok coach Heyneke Meyer of his undoubted talent, both with ball on boot, and in hand …

But as we all know, it is the forwards who decide which team wins the match, with the backs in the mix just to decide by how much …

So one can understand why the Sharks would want to give Bok tighthead Jannie du Plessis as much time as possible to recover from breaking a bone in his hand last week. Recovering from a broken bone in a week? That is a big ask. And with man mountain Willem Alberts only back from what looked to be a fairly serious neck injury incurred while playing for the Boks, and Beast Mtawarira back after being a late withdrawal last weekend, the men from Durban may well be relying a little heavily on the Elastoplast that keeps modern day players in tact.

Remarkably, both scrums have not looked that special recently, but in the final pool game between these two sides at Newlands, it was the young WP pack that gave the more established Bok laden scrum a bit of a wakeup call.

Obviously both sides will want to win desperately, but the home side have a cause – to win it for Cape legends Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger, who both missed last year’s win and have never won the Currie Cup. They are a settled side playing some excellent rugby that now comes with more attacking intent … A game the players look more happy to play.

WP to take this one going away …

8 Comments

  1. Tank, the final pool game was at Kings Park not Newlands. You must have your coffee before posting!

  2. I am so happy no one giving the Sharks a chance at winning this game. Will make it so much sweeter if we do win! I sense an over confidence and a bit of arrogance from WP fans, the players, their coaching staff, as well as the WP based media with all this. Usually these things count against a team and we have seen WP or even the Stormers lose games they should have won……

  3. Dear Tank,
    Now you know what advocates do.
    Having said that, I am more than happy to see two full strength teams taking to the field on Saturday. Anything else would just detract from the great contest I hope it will be.
    Province all the way!

      1. Not sure I could have been more wrong … Actually thought about popping into the Sharks supporters club on the way home from the game, but then some sense kicked in 🙂 Top effort from a brutally physical side who bullied the WP boys

        1. Pity you didn’t Tank. You would have seen some seriously happy fans – not like a lot of WP fans that left before the game finished. But then they are still waiting for their team to start their canter. Your comments about Bismarck also did not help the fans appreciate the good game we saw. The Sharks completely outplayed and out thought your WP’s.

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