Defending SuperSport Rugby Challenge champions DHL Western Province will have to take their game to the next level against Cape rivals Boland in Worcester on Saturday, if they are to retain their unbeaten status and secure top spot in the South Section.
Head Coach John Dobson’s team are yet to lose a SuperSport Rugby Challenge match, with six straight wins this season to follow on from their perfect season last year, which saw them go unbeaten to claim the inaugural title.
They can secure their place in the play-offs this season with victory against Boland, in a match that kicks off at 15h00 in Worcester on Saturday, but will be taking nothing for granted having been forced to work hard for a narrow victory against their local rivals at DHL Newlands earlier in the season.
DHL Western Province are preparing for the Cape derby with some training sessions with the Namibian national team, as part of their preparations for the World Cup next year.
Dobson believes the trip over the mountains to Worcester this weekend will serve as a crucial test of his team’s mettle which will stand them in good stead as the knock-out phase of the competition approaches.
“We are expecting this to be our toughest game yet, Boland almost beat us at DHL Newlands earlier in the season and we are going into a tough environment where they will be extremely motivated to do well against us.
“It is a challenge that we as a group are looking forward to, as this will show us where we stand and what we need to work on before the play-offs arrive,” he said.
DHL Western Province currently sit atop the South Section log, with 29 points out of a possible 30 from their six matches and a points difference of 200.
Their sixth win of the campaign came at False Bay RFC on Saturday, where a convincing second-half performance saw them claim a 52-24 victory against Border which featured an impressive eight tries.
While they are desperate to hold on to top spot in the competition by continuing unbeaten with the biggest points difference, Dobson knows that they cannot afford to look beyond winning this weekend in Worcester.
“If we can hold onto top spot then we will obviously have a more favourable draw in the knock-out phase, but that will be irrelevant if we do not beat Boland this weekend so that is where our focus is.
“We have played some good rugby this season, but the players know that we can still raise our standards further in a few key areas,” he added.