Western Province's efforts to build momentum after recording their first Currie Cup win of the season against the Leopards over the weekend will be severely tested when they come up against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
Springbok call-ups and a spate of injuries have left the Cape side with an unsettled line-up and many are wondering whether last year's runners-up can be considered as serious Currie Cup championship contenders this season.
But coach Allister Coetzee says there is no room for excuses and believes he can deliver winning results with the talents he has to work with.
He said: "There is a perception that this team will be as good as the (Stormers) team that finished the Super Rugby season so well, but this is what I have and this is what I must make do with.
"We are looking to improve with every game after our first game (against Griquas) was an exercise in stock-taking. We can built momentum by taking our opportunities and cutting out errors," explained Coetzee.
"Against the Leopards there were definite signs of improvement because after all you don't just turn up at a place like Potch (Potchefstroom) and expect to win."
Coetzee was full of praise for the Blue Bulls who bounced back from their opening round defeat to the Sharks in Durban by sneaking a win against the Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.
"The Bulls are in the rebuilding stage and they showed a lot of character against the Cheetahs at Loftus," said Coetzee. "After losing in the first week (against the Sharks) they did well to come back in the way they did. They played efficiently and changed their play when it was necessary.
The Western Province coach expects both sides to lift the intensity levels for the latest installment in their traditional rivalry.
He said: "The North/South element will come into play and one expect the match to be similar to a Super Rugby clash. The players themselves will want to keep the (winning) momentum going and playing against a side growing in confidence will not make it easier."
Coetzee does not expect the Blue Bulls to change their approach much and is anticipating a powerful and physical onslaught from the Pretoria outfit.
"The Bulls have an effective gameplan and we need to handle their kicking strategy. We need to be able to control the high balls that they'll be kicking. And then we need to be in control of our set-pieces. It will be matter that will be non-negotiable," said the Western Province boss.
It's very likely that Coetzee will field an unchanged combination this week and that means that the young UCT flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis will retain the No.10 jersey. "We want to play with the best available team because the players must grow as a team," said Coetzee.
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