Home Sport Bulls’ Gqoboka wary of Griquas’ physicality

Bulls’ Gqoboka wary of Griquas’ physicality

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In all his years of top-level rugby, Lizo Gqoboka has never played at Griqua Park in Kimberley.

Prop Lizo Gqoboka is hoping to fight his way back into the Bulls URC side. Photo: Morgan Treacy/INPHO/Shutterstock via BackpagePix

In all his years of top-level rugby, Lizo Gqoboka has never played at Tafel Lager Park in Kimberley.

Cape Town – In all his years of top-level rugby, Lizo Gqoboka has never played at Tafel Lager Park in Kimberley.

Now, at the age of 31, the loosehead prop is set to make his first appearance at the famous old ground when the Bulls face Griquas in the Currie Cup on Saturday (2.30pm kick-off).

“Something always seemed to come up when I had to play in Kimberley, so if I play this weekend, it’s going to be my first time. It’s exciting, because people talk about how tough it is to play there. If I do, the grass is green!” the Springbok front-ranker said from Pretoria yesterday.

And while the dusty, rock-hard brown surface has been transformed into a green paradise this year, it doesn’t mean that the Bulls will have an easy time of it against the Northern Cape outfit.

Just a few weeks ago, the mighty Western Province went down 22-20 to Griquas in Kimberley, while the Pumas were handed a 41-20 drubbing as well.

Griquas were unlucky to lose 24-23 to the Sharks in Durban, while the Cheetahs triumphed 30-20 in Bloemfontein.

They also reached the Currie Cup semi-finals last year, and with the Bulls having lost their last game 38-25 to the Cheetahs in Pretoria, they certainly won’t underestimate Griquas on Saturday.

“You never go to Kimberley half-hearted – that’s going to be the main thing. We’ve got to front up physically, and they’ve grown as a team in terms of their balance between the set-piece and playing at a (great) intensity. Their kicking game is also very good,” Gqoboka said.

“Their physicality stands out for me, and you can’t play for 60 minutes and think you are done, as they fight until the end. They have beaten so-called big teams down there, and even away from home. They reached the semi-finals last year, and it speaks to the quality of their players and coaches.

“When I think about Griquas, since I’ve known them, is their physicality. They fight until the end. We expect that at the weekend. We’ve seen their set-piece, and it’s quite strong with Barend (Pieterse, forwards coach) there – the line-outs, the mauls.

“I actually played with him … I might be giving my age away. I played with him at the Kings, when he was about to retire. I know how passionate he is and how he sees that as a weapon, so it is going to be a challenge for us.

“Their scrum has been one of the most dominant scrums in the competition, and we are aware of that and excited for the challenge.”

Saturday’s clash is also a chance for Gqoboka to push for a place in the Bulls URC team, having lost out to Gerhard Steenekamp and Simphiwe Matanzima in recent fixtures, ahead of the Munster encounter at Loftus Versfeld on March 12.

“That’s how I see it. Every time I put on the jersey, it’s an opportunity. I’ve seen Coach Jake (White) rewarding the guys if they’re performing. If you look at Canan Moodie, he had an amazing game against Western Province and started in the URC the following week.”

@AshfakMohamed

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