Griquas hoping for home semi-final with a win against the Lions. Photo: BackpagePix
Just one more win... and then anything can happen.

That’s what Griquas coach Brent Janse van Rensburg is hoping for when his team host the Golden Lions in a final round Currie Cup match in Kimberley today.

A win will ensure Griquas finish top of the points table after the six-match round-robin phase of this year’s competition, and guarantee the Kimberley-based team a home semi-final and home final, should they progress that far.

“That top spot is all we want right now,” said the Griquas coach this week. “My journey as a coach up to now has taught me you can do much with little ... and that’s what we’ve done here this year.

“If you’ve got players who’re prepared to work hard, fight for each other, and if the culture is right, things can happen.”

Griquas don’t nearly have the same number of players the Lions have - or for that matter the Bulls, Western Province, the Cheetahs and the Sharks - and they don’t have the same kind of money either, yet they go into the final round of matches as this country’s top team in the Cup.

Up to now Janse van Renbsurg’s men have won four of five matches, while the Lions go into today’s game with a record of played five and won three. The men from Joburg are also chasing top spot if they win and other results go their way, so there’s plenty at stake in Kimberley today.

“It’s a big one for sure,” said Janse van Rensburg. “The Lions are such a dangerous team and we’re certainly going to have to arrive and be invested in this game. The guys know what’s at stake though ... and they’re full of confidence and belief.”

The last time Griquas won the Currie Cup was in 1970 when they got the better of the then Northern Transvaal 11-9 in the final at the old De Beers ground. Finishing top of the log after today’s match will go a long way to helping them get to the final and possibly winning it.

The Lions though have aspirations of their own. They didn’t have a good Super Rugby campaign, they’ve lost several seasoned players to overseas clubs and they’ve battled to stay afloat in the Currie Cup. They won their first three games by the narrowest of margins, but have lost their last two - to the Bulls and Sharks, both at Ellis Park.

So seriously has Lions boss Ivan van Rooyen viewed today’s game that he decided to move down country already on Thursday in an attempt to have his players as fresh as possible for the match. The team spent Friday in Bloemfontein before heading west to Kimberley for today’s match. With so much on the line, today is a day when “Big Match Temperament” truly has to come to the fore.


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