Vodacom Western Province relish the chance to play at Newlands in front of their passionate supporters again and coach Allister Coetzee said Friday's night game against Griquas is a very important one in their Absa Currie Cup campaign.
Province are second on the log behind the pace-setting Natal Sharks and they know it is important to rake up the points now to ensure a home semi-final. Coetzee warned that Griquas will not come to Cape Town to dish out points on a silver platter.
"Griquas are a formidable side, and I think we've prepared well. It's good to be back at Newlands.
"We know where we are and what we want to achieve on Friday night and it will be helluva important in terms of what we want to achieve this year and we're expecting one helluva game.
"They will challenge in all departments. They have a good pack of forwards and exciting backs, and a 15 and 10 that really kick well, so we will be tested in all departments of the game.
"We have to make sure that up front we get the upper hand and win our ball, and make sure that there's accuracy in our play and the execution of our plan."
Captain Anton van Zyl said although the pack's performance last weekend against the Pumas was satisfactory, there was still room for improvement. "It was definitely not as good as it can get. It was definitely not the complete performance.
"Some areas we were very happy with - like the contesting of the lineouts we were happy with. At the breakdown we were reasonably happy, but on our lineouts we weren't as sharp as we wanted to be.
"Our mauling was not up to our standards. Our scrum engagements weren't quite there, so we were happy with the intensity that we played with and some areas were good but there is always room for improvement."
Van Zyl said he is optimistic that the introduction of De Kock Steenkamp as his new lock partner in place of Adriaan Fondse would not have any effect on the performance.
"Hopefully it's not going to have any effect. De Kock knows the plays as well as anyone else in the team. He knows the lineouts and the scrum. And we said from the start that this wasn't about 15 guys - this is about the whole squad.
"So it's as important for players 18,19 and 20 to know everything as it is for player 4 and 5. I'm hoping the transition will be seamless and I have no doubt that when Fondse comes back on the field with 20 to go that we'll see the same game from him."
Coach Coetzee said that underestimating Griquas was not on their agenda. "All that I know is that we're a team that always wants to get better and we've done that since last year and earlier this year. That's where our focus is.
"If you don't have respect for a team in the Currie Cup you make it difficult for yourself. We understand that Griquas are full of players who used to play in Cape Town who will want to come back and prove that they belong in the WP structures.
"If you look at Naas Olivier, Burger Schoeman and Kitshoff have all been part of the system, so it's going to be a tough game."
Teams for Newlands:
Vodacom WP:Conrad Jantjes, JJ Engelbrecht, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Gio Aplon, Willem de Waal, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Pieter Louw, Anton van Zyl (capt), De Kock Steenkamp, Brok Harris, Deon Fourie, Wicus Blaauw. REPLACEMENTS: Hanyani Shimange, JC Kritzinger, Adriaan Fondse, Nick Köster, Conrad Hoffmann, Gary van Aswegen, Paul Bosch.
Griquas: Riaan Viljoen, Rocco Jansen, Wilmaure Louw, Barry Geel, Bjorn Basson, Naas Olivier (capt), Sarel Pretorius, Burger Schoeman, Davon Raubenheimer, Justin Downey, Cecil Kemp, Edwin Hewitt, Jean Botha, Ryno Barnes, Steph Roberts. REPLACEMENTS: Simon Westraadt, Jacobie Adriaanse, Frikkie Spies, Pote Human, Marnus Hugo, Jean Hermanus Stemmet, Rudi Vogt.