Van Zyl: Final still our goal
A place in the Absa Currie Cup final is still Vodacom Western Province's objective.
A place in the Absa Currie Cup final is still Vodacom Western Province's objective.

That was the message to WP fans from captain Anton van Zyl on Monday. After a brilliant start to their campaign that yielded six victories from six starts things went awry with three consecutive defeats.

Province, however, are still second on the log and Saturday's game against the Leopards at Newlands offers them a great opportunity to get back to winning ways.

Van Zyl said the three defeats are definitely not the end of the world. "I am still helluva optimistic and positive. We are very determined still and it is not the end of the world.

"We unfortunately have lost three games and that is not up to our standards. We have taken a good, hard look at ourselves and we are addressing those parts of our game that need to be addressed.

"We will sort those out and come back firing. We are still second on the log and that definitely is a massive positive. We are incredibly determined to do well in the Currie Cup."

The lock said the recent results made the players realise they let the supporters and the jersey down. "The guys know that we have left our supporters down. We have let ourselves down and we have let the team down.

"That is not going to stop us from trying, in fact we will be trying harder, to make sure we produce the performances that are worthy of the WP jersey."

He said it was a massive boost for the team to get Springboks Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh and Jean de Villiers back from Springbok duty. "We really felt the pressure in their absence. It is a huge compliment to have so many Springboks chosen from our squad, but it has taken its toll together with the injuries we suffered.

"That is no excuse though. Those three bring a hugely positive aspect to our play. They are playing good rugby at the moment and we are looking forward to having them back as part of the squad."

The former Lions star said the last three weeks - that was part of a challenging phase of the competition where Province played against Griquas, the Blue Bulls, Free Sate Cheetahs, the Natal Sharks and the Lions - didn't go according to plan at all.

"This was our big challenge phase and we wanted to come through it strongly. We knew it would be tough with all those opponents back to back in five weeks. In the same breath we were hampered by injury, so having those guys back will make a huge impact.

"We don't regard injuries as an excuse though and blame the defeats on that. We didn't perform up to scratch and that is the bottom line."

Van Zyl said the fact Province are still sitting solidly in second position on the log after three defeats is another positive. And their goals for the season haven't changed at all.

"We have our sights firmly set on the top of the log. Nothing is going to change in terms of our goals and objectives. We believe in our systems and we need to make sure it all works out.

"We are not too worried at the moment. We said at the start of the season we want to finish on top of the log and that is what we are still striving for."

Van Zyl said in a message to WP supporters: "We know you are just as disappointed and frustrated as we are at what happened over the last three weeks.

"We just want you to know we haven't stopped trying. We are not going to give up now. We firmly believe the Currie Cup belong in Cape Town and that is what we will be working towards."

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