CAPE TOWN – Western Province coach John Dobson might be expecting a rather different Griquas team ahead of today’s Currie Cup showdown in Kimberley, but one thing that remains the same is how tough they are to beat at home.
Griquas currently top the standings on 15 points after losing only one of their four games, while Province, on 12, are in fourth position with a run that includes an opening win against the Blue Bulls, two losses to the Sharks and Golden Lions and a win over the Pumas at Newlands last week.
The Cape side simply have to win their last two games in order to host a home semi-final, and there’s no doubt that Griquas will be high on motivation as a victory for them will not only seriously dent WP’s home play-off chances, but also act as a solid confidence booster as they chase their first semi since 1998.
During yesterday’s team announcement at Newlands, Dobson said that their defence was a major focus for them this week as he felt that they were too tight in that department in their 45-14 win over the Pumas.
“I think they’re much more structured now,” Dobson commented on Griquas.
“George Whitehead controls the game, they play for territory a lot and they’ve got good carriers in guys like Sias Koen and Zandre Jordaan. So it’s a slightly different Griquas team. Last week I thought our defence was a bit tight, but that’s been our main focus this week - to put them under pressure defensively, we need good line speed and we need to get off the line.”
Brent Janse van Rensburg’s team will be going into the match with the pleasant knowledge that they beat Province back in 2017 in Kimberley, although WP went on to claim the Currie Cup trophy later that year.
There’s also their Rugby Challenge semi-final win over WP earlier this year, although it was a different competition. Still, Griquas never hold back when they play at home, one thing WP skipper Chris van Zyl needed no reminding of.
“One thing about going to Kimberley is that they always seem to get up more for it,” Van Zyl said.
“We know that they’re up for it big time, in comparison to maybe playing here. But I’ve got full confidence and I don’t need to say much because I know the guys are fully aware of what’s waiting for us up there.”
15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Zandre Jordaan, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Mxoli, 18 Johan Momsen, 19 Gideon van der Merwe, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Chris Smit, 22 Bjorn Basson, 23 Ruan Kramer.
15 SP Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 JD Schickerling, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Corne Fourie
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Damian Willemse, 23 Edwill van der Merwe.@WynonaLouw