The team seems to be getting it right at practice sessions but fail to carry it through in a match

NO CHANCE: Western Province centre Damien Willemse is tackled by Kyle Steyn of Tafel Lager Griquas in the Currie Cup Game played at Newlands Stadium. Picture: Phando Jikelo / ANA

IT’S BACK to the drawing board for the Tafel Lager Griquas after they came unstuck in their penultimate Currie Cup fixture against DHL Western Province at the weekend.

The Kimberley side went down 38-12 after Province all but won it in the first half going into the break 33-7.

Griquas’ assistant and forwards coach, Denzil Frans, told the DFA after the match that the team was disappointed with the result. “We went in with a game plan but we didn’t stick to it in the first half.

“We conceded far too many points.”

Frans continued: “However, in the second half, we stuck with what we intended to do and it worked well, but unfortunately you must apply yourself for a full 80 min. Western Province is playing exciting rugby and have a lot of confidence, that is why they are on top of the log.”

It’s back to the drawing board now for the city side and they will be looking to start better and apply themselves for the full 80 minutes.

Griquas face the formidable Sharks outfit in two weeks time (October 13) and the team will need to sort out a number of errors and mistakes such as missed first tackles in their defence, correct the wild passing that has crept in lately, especially in the first half of a match.

The team seems to be getting it right at practice sessions but fail to carry it through in a matchw.

While the game against the Lions was of course a vital one, keeping the Sharks on their perfect run in this year’s Currie Cup, it was even more vital in their preparation for this week’s massive clash against Western Province.

Province and the Sharks are the last two remaining undefeated teams in the competition, and both have been picking up good momentum heading into the business end of things.

But for the Sharks, the Lions clash has given them a great springboard, but also some new heights to chase when they head to the Cape.

The Sharks dealt with the Lions with relative ease, especially in the first half as they were happy to play good rugby despite the conditions.

The second half saw them take their foot off the pedal a bit, and that is where the coach wants to see improvement.

“I thought the boys really stuck to their structures and kept their patience,” Coach Robert du Preez said after the game.

“It is something we have been working hard on. I do think we lost our way in the second half with all the changes we made, but a fantastic result.”

Du Preez knows that if his side is to emerge from the Cape Town clash as the last undefeated team standing, the Sharks cannot give Western Province a sniff. His side shut out the Lions in that first 40 minutes in Durban, but then let them fight their way back somewhat.  

“We have to put two halves like that together for Western Province,” the coach said in relation to the good first half. “I do think against Province, when we have the opportunities like we had in this game you have to take them. In the second half, you have to keep going and can’t let teams off the hook.

“So that will be a work-on for us again this weekend. It is a big game, one that we need to win.”

Not only will the win secure a home semifinal for the Sharks, it will be a big step in the right direction for a chance at lifting the Cup. Realistically, Province and the Sharks seem to be the only true contenders for the trophy, and if the Durban side can get one over on them on their home turf, it will mean a great deal should these two meet in the final, again.

– Dave Alexander and
Darryn Pollock