Coach Coetzee still optimistic
Vodacom Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says although the defeat to the Free State Cheetahs hurts, two defeats in a row is not a train smash and the team could still turn things around
WP suffered a surprise defeat to the Cheetahs on Friday evening at Newlands. It was their second one in a row after going down to the Natal Sharks the previous weekend.

Coetzee said after words it was a very disappointing result and that to lose at Newlands hurt even more. "I think once again credit to the Cheetahs; they played well, but we were our own worst enemies.

"There were a lot of mistakes in the first half which really took the pressure off the Cheetahs and put us under pressure. We weren't holding onto the ball.

"Secondly, I think discipline, conceding penalties with a good kicker like Louis Strydom, he kept the scoreboard rolling for them and it's difficult to play catch-up rugby and when you get the scoreboard ticking on the other side it lifts their confidence.

"We basically we let ourselves down badly in the first half with not retaining and holding on to the ball. It was a much improved performance in the second half."

Province were off to a relatively good start when wing Gio Aplon was denied a try by the Television Match Official in the second minute, but they soon lost their way. "It's unfortunate that he touched the chalk on the left hand touchline early in the game," said the coach.

"As a team we're collectively disappointed in the effort, but there still is a long way to go and we realise that and we have to make sure our game discipline is where it needs to be like it was in the first couple of games.

"We moved slightly a bit away from that, playing in the wrong areas and the rush defence put us under pressure a bit and that's why we turned the ball over so many times."

Coetzee didn't want to offer excuses, saying the loss of centre Tim Whitehead that necessitated a reshuffle of the backline was not to blame for the defeat. "We lost Timmy at training (on Thursday).

"We selected the side early in the week and then had to slot the Boks in, but no excuses. We work in a squad system and each and everyone is disappointed in the first half performance."

The coach added that Friday's game proved just how tough the Currie Cup competition is. "The Bulls went to Witbank and they lost. Two losses in the competition is definitely not a train smash.

"I'm very positive we'll pick it up on Monday and try and turn things around against the Lions."

Star wing Aplon will not be available for the game, as he was recalled to the Springboks squad. There is also uncertainty about the availability of fiery hooker Tiaan Liebenberg, who left the field in the 22nd minute with an ankle injury.

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