The Cape outfit are the only unbeaten team in this year’s Currie Cup competition, top the log and have secured a home semifinal ahead of the final round of the regular season this weekend.
And on Monday, coach Allister Coetzee and hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni were acknowledged as the respective Currie Cup Coach and Player of the Month for September. Coetzee said the collective effort of the Union rather than the performances of some individuals is the reason why Western Province rugby is flourishing.
“We’re fortunate to be receiving these accolades today,” Coetzee said on Monday. “The credit has to go to the structures that are in place at Western Province. These awards are a result of hard work across the spectrum. “Our Under-19s aren’t really performing to their potential this year but our Under-21s are also topping the log and have also secured a home semifinal, so all credit to a fantastic management team and other role players.”
Coetzee said the culture of the Union has also played a vital role to ensure they remain on track to achieve their 2013 season goals.
“There’s a good culture at Western Province and the Stormers. The big goal in the Currie Cup was to blood youngsters firstly and secondly, to keep the Currie Cup in the Western Cape, and we’re doing well with both of those objectives,” he said. “If you look at the youngsters that we’ve played this year, we’re well on our way to having eight Under-21s in our system and the fact that we’re still able to maintain results at Under-21 level says a lot. “What we are doing is trying to make sure we become consistent at all age-group levels. We had a fantastic Craven Week this year, so our intake is spot on.”
Ntubeni said he was pleasantly surprised when he heard he had been voted September’s standout player
“It’s a big shock, I didn’t expect anything, but it’s a nice shock,” said the livewire hooker, who follows in the footsteps of teammate Cheslin Kolbe, who won the award in August. The turnaround in fortunes for the Cape Union occurred when the Stormers finished their Super Rugby season with five consecutive wins earlier this year and Ntubeni felt it was the attitude of the players and the ever-improvement spirit in the camp that did the trick.
“We tweaked a few things, especially on attack, and from towards the end of Super Rugby we’ve played for pride and the whole group got closer together,” he said.
“On the field, especially when Schalla [Schalk Burger] is on and even at training the spirit is on par and you can see it on the field, especially when times are dark, the guys are prepared to dig deep for each other.”
He added that the team won’t rest on their laurels and will look to continue to improve, especially in the set pieces, as the play-offs draw closer.
“There’s always room for improvement. I’d say we’re firing at about 80 percent at the moment at set-piece,” he said.