Western Province’s propensity to fall asleep at the wheel during matches in this season’s Currie Cup has taught them how to handle pressure according to backline coach Dawie Snyman.
Snyman points to Western Province getting over the line in a crucial match against the Cheetahs as evidence that the team had got over their big-match nerves.
Have Western Province shaken off the yips?
Western Province needed Tim Swiel to goal a penalty after the hooter to seal that match and clinch a home semi-final against the Sharks.
They were denied a final round-robin match against the team they will face in the last four, after the Sharks suffered a coronavirus outbreak in their camp but their backroom staff are confident they are in a position to bid a fond farewell to Newlands, or set up a Currie Cup final at the famous venue, depending on who wins the third Jukskei derby of the restarted season.
“If you look at the Bulls game, we had an opportunity to close that game out but we missed that opportunity,” Snyman told reporters during a virtual press conference.
“Against the Lions at Ellis Park, we were in a good position, but they won with that kick at the end. Against the Cheetahs, we showed we had learned from those previous two games and used our opportunities.
“Going into this weekend, it’s going to come down to the last five or 10 minutes and the decisions we make in those moments. That’s where we have made mistakes previously, the wrong calls at the wrong time in those scenarios.
“We know what works for us and how to handle those pressure situations,” the coach added.
The Sharks meeting with the Stormers in Super Rugby Unlocked was called off as was what should have been Western Province’s final Currie Cup round-robin fixture, but Snyman says the team will be well-prepared for the Sharks.
“We’ve prepared for the Sharks for two games that didn’t happen,” Snyman said
“It almost feels like a month that we’ve been preparing for them now. We prepared for them in three sessions previously and now of course the sessions this week.
“The plans will stay the same, so that’s actually nice, so we don’t have to change too much. We’re looking forward to playing against them.”
Western Province vs Sharks – Match information
Date: Saturday, 23 January 2021
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Cwengile Jadezweni and Aimee Barrett-Theron
TMO: Stuart Berry
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby