CAPE TOWN – The inaugural SuperSport Rugby Challenge final between undefeated Western Province and the unexpected finalists Griquas will take place at Florida Park in Ravensmead on Sunday (2.30pm kickoff).
While WP impressed throughout the season with a 10 out of 10 wins, Griquas’ form peaked in the final stretch of the competition.
The Northern Cape team will certainly head into the final high on confidence after racking up 11 tries against the Eastern Province Kings in the quarter-finals and beating the more-fancied Golden Lions after a top first-half performance in the semi-finals in Mdantsane last week.
Province obviously won’t be low on confidence either after the season they’ve enjoyed, and they should certainly look to use their strong set-piece to give the backs an opportunity to do damage.
Province have also been a real counter-attacking threat this year, and getting the one-on-one tackles right will be crucial for Griquas if they want to prevent WP from using those half-gaps to get the offloads away.
Griquas, on the other hand, capitalise on turnover ball and their set-piece is solid, while they are also good at mixing up their game as they have no problem winning the physical contest upfront through big carries, while their hard-running backs are also a threat.
But Province don’t lack quality when it comes to their backs.
The back-three of Craig Barry, Marcello Sampson and Bjorn Basson are dangerous on the counter-attack, while they will also have reliable kicking ammunition in Kurt Coleman and Brandon Thomson.
Scrumhalf Godlen Masimla’s attacking potency will also serve WP well, and it’s especially around the fringes that Griquas will have to close in on him.
Given the performances that these two sides have put on show in the competition’s very first season, one thing is for sure – not even the live entertainment and a highly anticipated curtain-raiser between Tygerberg and Belhar should manage to provide a better watch than the finalists at Florida Park on Sunday.
Western Province: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Brandon Thomson, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Eital Bredenkamp (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Oli Kebble.
Bench: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Ash Wells, 18 Eduard Zandberg, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Herschel Jantjies, 21 Ryan Oosthuizen, 22 Grant Hermanus.
Griquas: 15 Eric Zana, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kock Marx, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 AJ Coertzen, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuuren, 4 FP Pelser, 3 Ewald vd Westhuizen, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Liam Hendricks.
Bench: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 20 Renier Botha, 21 André Swarts, 22 Enver Brandt.
Referee: Egon Seconds.