DHL WP upbeat for Bloem trip

PUBLISHED: July 10, 2024

Defence Coach Norman Laker and midfielder Wandisile Simelane are looking forward to the challenge that awaits DHL Western Province in Bloemfontein on Saturday against the defending Carling Currie Cup champions.

The trip to the city of roses after a narrow loss to the Vodacom Bulls in torrential rain at DHL Stadium presents DHL Western Province with an opportunity for an emphatic rebound.

DHL Western Province salvaged two bonus points from the North-South derby clash in the opening round of the 2024 Carling Currie Cup, and Laker emphasised the importance of returning to winning ways with a huge performance.

“It wasn’t the ideal start to the competition for us,” he said. “We don’t go out there to put out a performance like that.

“We have taken a good look at ourselves and fixed a few of the problems and we will be better this weekend.

“Getting two points out of the game shouldn’t overshadow that we almost didn’t get one point. So we are happy to get the points, but we have to improve our performance.”

For Simelane, who marked his debut in the blue and white hoops against the Vodacom Bulls with a well-deserved try, a 13h55 kick-off at Toyota Stadium in warmer weather presents DHL Western Province with a platform to execute their gameplan.

“The conditions were tough last Sunday. Mentally, we were prepared for it, but we let ourselves down a bit,” he said.

“This weekend it will hopefully be drier in Bloemfontein, so that gives us the opportunity to express ourselves and play the brand of rugby we’re known for and that we want to play.”

Laker is aware of the threats posed by an experienced Toyota Cheetahs outfit, but believes that DHL Western Province will produce an improved performance.

“The Toyota Cheetahs are a quality team. They have a good foundation as a counter-attacking team and they can put their opposition under pressure with ball in hand. It’s never easy in Bloemfontein,” he explained.

“But we’ve had success there in the past with our process and plans that we’ve implemented and got right, so we are looking forward to the challenge.

“For the Toyota Cheetahs, it’s the be-all and end-all competition, and it’s similar for us. We are looking to blood a few youngsters and grow our squad depth for the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and Investec Champions Cup.

“So while it’s never easy going to Bloem, we are confident that the team can do it on Saturday.”