Johannesburg – Griquas coach Hawies Fourie has rewarded the squad that earned Currie Cup qualification by retaining much of the team for the Sharks clash at GWK Park on Saturday.
The Kimberley based side regained their status after ending the qualifying round undefeated.
“Now that we are once again part of the Currie Cup, we don’t just want to be a number. We want to be a real contender the competition and we hope to use the momentum that we got form the qualifiers to achieve just that,” Fourie said.
The former Free State Cheetahs assistant coach said the team had set themselves high targets for the upcoming campaign.
“We have our sights set on the semi-finals, but we at least want to end the series in sixth position to ensure that we don’t need to play in the qualifiers next year.”
Flanker Marnus Schoeman and eighth man Carel Greeff have been outstanding in the breakdown areas, and will again attempt to thwart the Sharks on their home turf.
Griquas have lost key players to other unions since last year’s Currie Cup, with star players like Springbok fullback Willie le Roux and Bok prop Lourens Adriaanse moving to the Cheetahs and Sharks respectively.
Recently, lock Ligtoring Landman moved to Newport and Howard Mnisi to the Lions.
But they have also made some good acquisitions in captain Wayne Stevens, Hugo Kloppers, Doppies la Grange and Ruan Lerm who came in from the Lions, while Jonathan Francke and Boela Serfontein joined from Boland and the Pumas respectively.
“We have the momentum thanks to winning the Vodacom Cup and the qualifiers.
“We are still a unit where other teams have to make due without many Springboks who will play in the Rugby Championship. We are in a good place,” Fourie said.
Griquas starting 15: Nico Scheepers, Danie Dames, Jonathan Francke, Wayne Stevens, Rocco Jansen, Francois Brummer, Tian Meyer, Carel Greeff, Hilton Lobberts, Marnus Schoeman, Jaco Nepgen, Boela Serfontein, Maks van Dyk, Ryno Barnes, Steph Roberts.
Replacements: Simon Westraadt, Ewald van der Westhuizen, Hugo Kloppers, RJ Liebenberg, Abrie Griesel, Marais Schmidt, Ederies Arendse. – Sapa