Bloemfontein – Free State Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan expects one of the toughest encounters his side will face in this year's Currie Cup competition when his side hosts the Griquas in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Both teams lost their first-round matches against the Pumas and Sharks, respectively, and would be out to rectify the results.
The Free State side also have a lot to prove under new coach Duncan after their onslaught did not start as planned in Nelspruit.
“We expect Griquas to play the full 80 minutes. They lost to the Sharks last weekend in what was a good performance,” Duncan said.
“They will be out to prove a point against us and we will need to stand our ground. We know they will run hard at us and try to knock us back into our own half and we will also be mindful of those little chip kicks from their flyhalf Francois Brummer.”
The inclusion of flanker Jean Cook and flyhalf Elgar Watts in the starting line up gave the home side a more experienced lineup than the one which lost against the Pumas.
With their back line bolstered by Super Rugby players Rayno Benjamin and Sarel Pretorius as well as Boom Prinsloo, Francois Uys and captain Torsten van Jaarsveld up front, the hosts would have more confidence.
“If anything, we are less experienced at prop, but our scrummaging was one of our main focuses during the week.
“Our goal is to do better than against the Pumas. There we let a couple of chances slip mainly do to a little bit of inexperience. We want to rectify that.”
Griquas would arrive in the City of Roses with basically the same team that secured their spot in this year's competition and almost caused an upset against the Sharks.
Coach Hawies Fourie was adamant the Kimberley side was travelling to their neighbours with an idea to upset them in front of their home crowd.
“We have so much momentum from the qualifying round as well as last week that we need to tap into that and use it to our advantage,” Fourie said.
“Ball possession will be key on the day. Whoever uses their possession to the best of their ability will walk away victorious.
“The break down area will also be important. They have guys like Torsten and Boom that are always involved in the rucks, while we will look to stalwarts like Marnus Schoeman and Carel Greeff to help give our back line enough quality possession.” – Sapa