Scott Mathie, head coach of Griquas, says they want to make their mark this season. Picture Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images via Backpagepix
Scott Mathie, head coach of Griquas, says they want to make their mark this season. Picture Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images via Backpagepix

Griquas dream big after Currie Cup giant-killing acts

By Morgan Bolton Time of article published Jul 22, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - The Griquas have swept aside the Free State Cheetahs and the Western Province, and on Wednesday it was the Sigma Lions' turn to be overrun by the Kimberley-based side at Emirates Airline Park in their Currie Cup match-up.

The visitors claimed an impressive 41-31 victory on the day, their third of the campaign, sounding a warning to all and sundry that they will be hard to grind down and will, moreover, never give up, never surrender.

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The Griquas are now top of the log in the tournament standings with 19 points, and although they have slain a handful of giants, they have a game over the second-placed Pumas on 15 points and a further game more over the chasing pack.

It was probably this fact that kept coach Scott Mathie rooted to the ground after the victory.

"We have big dreams at Griquas, but it is not about that for now," Mathie answered humbly, when asked during the post-match press conference if the team are now thinking of claiming a play-off spot. "Every week we are playing against tough opposition and we are just focussed on that. We will worry about that (the play-offs) later."

The scoreboard in the Lions match does not tell the full tale of just how good the Griquas victory was. The Joburg-based outfit controlled pretty much every aspects of the encounter - they dominated possession and territory; made more metres; beat more defenders; carried the ball over the gainline more; passed close to double that of the Griquas; made more offloads, won more rucks, and reigned supreme in the set-pieces, especially the scrums.

ALSO READ: FS Cheetahs too good for Western Province in Bloemfontein Currie Cup clash

Unlike the Griquas, however, they didn't take their chances and every point available, while their defence was poor - below a 60% tackle success. At every opportunity, they allowed a Griquas side full of endeavour and running to counter their every strike. They gave far too much leeway to the visitors, who competently, greedily and happily gobbled up their short-comings.

It was ultimately the lack of discipline, however, that handed the balance of match to the Griquas - two cards, including a red card to Lions full-back EW Viljoen, swinging the encounter the way of the men from the Northern Cape. The Griquas also executed their gameplan better, and stuck to their systems, even while under massive pressure from a marauding Lions team that had begun to find their rhythm before those sanctions.

"Look, I think Stefan Ungerer and George Whitehead controlled the kicking game well," said Mathie.

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"It's such an important part of the game and I think we got our tactics right. I think defensively we have been resolute. (On Wednesday), there were a couple of one-on-one tackles we could have been better at but you judge a team by their scrabble defence. I thought we scrambled well. We did well with the turnover ball. We got danger on turnover and I think that has been an important part of our gameplan.

"I think, for us it's making sure we refine a lot of things," the coach continued, with reference to their next game against the Sharks next weekend in Durban.

"I think our set-piece, our scrums, we need a lot more work on that. Our mauls as well and stopping the mauls, we have to get better in that department. Defensively, (they need to work on) one-on-one tackles and our tracking work and making sure we finish off tackles and get our technique right in those spaces."

The Sharks earlier beat the Griquas in Kimberley, but a good showing at Jonsson Kings Park next weekend, and Mathie and his players can certainly start dreaming big time.

@FreemanZAR

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