DHL Western Province are looking forward to testing themselves against French powerhouse Montpellier after their comfortable victory against Narbonne on Saturday.
The defending Currie Cup champions picked up a convincing 59-14 win against the Pro D2 outfit in the first game of their pre-season trip to France.
Head Coach John Dobson said that he got exactly what he wanted from the clash with Narbonne, which leaves them in a positive space ahead of their encounter with Montpellier on Thursday.
“For the trip we wanted one game where we could execute what we are trying to work on and one very hard game, which is obviously still coming up.
“You need to be able to have a bit of time to execute what you train and get used to it under pressure.
“In terms of physical contact Narbonne were superb and I thought the scoreline was more a reflection how we got our attack and defence shape going, rather than the quality of the opposition,” he said.
There were a few players that stood out against Narbonne, as DHL Western Province focused on playing at a high tempo and saw some great results, scoring nine tries and conceding just two.
“The stuff we wanted to work on like our tempo, racing to set, mauling and skill level in terms of offloads were the targets for the game.
“Particularly impressive were the scrumhalves Paul de Wet and Herschel Jantjies when he came on. The hookers were very good, Scarra and Chad, Ramone Samuels had some time at six and was good with Chris Massyn.
“Sergeal showed some good touches, he is obviously a bit ring rust so a good 80 minutes against Montpellier should put him right back in the frame,” he said.
Dobson and his charges now turn their attention to the challenge that Montpellier, with their legion of international stars, will present on Thursday.
“Montpellier is one of the top teams in France and one of the top two or three teams in Europe. They will present a physical challenge, we watched their game last week and we know this is a side packed with internationals, so playing them away is going to be a helluva test, but it is what this team needs and we are really looking forward to it.
“Our breakdown was very good against Narbonne, but we know that Montpellier attack the breakdown a lot more physically, so that is an area of improvement for us. Another one is our scrums and we would also like to push more tempo in the game, they are a very big side so we want to push the tempo,” said Dobson.
Apart from the strides being made on the field, the DHL Western Province squad is also coming together nicely as a unit in the south of France as they finalise their preparations for their Currie Cup title defence.
“The vibe in the squad is phenomenal, we are in a small town in the south of France where we can walk to training. We have been looked after really well, we have had some fun activities and the training facilities are brilliant so it has been a very special experience,” Dobson added.