For their first outing, Griquas will travel to Kings Park in Durban to take on the Sharks in their first round Preparation Series encounter on Sunday.
SA RUGBY and SuperSport announced last Friday that they will be broadcasting all 16 preparation fixtures live when the local rugby season kicks off this weekend.
As a result, the fixtures have been amended. Eight Provincial unions will each play four matches – two at home and two away starting today (Friday, February 26) and ending on Sunday, March 28.
The series of warm-up encounters has been specifically designed by the Rugby Department of SA Rugby and the competing unions to meet teams’ high-performance needs against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to prepare the players for the season ahead.
Instead of weekly encounters, matches will be played on a 10-day cycle to manage Covid testing protocols. The eight teams have been split into two groups and will play cross-pool matches.
Pool A consists of the Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions, Tafel Lager Griquas and Toyota Cheetahs, and they will play the four sides in Pool B, namely the Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Phakisa Pumas and Multisure Eastern Province Elephants.
For their first outing, Griquas will travel to Kings Park in Durban to take on the Sharks in their first round Preparation Series encounter on Sunday, with the match kicking off at 5.15 pm.
The Griqua guys have been hard at practice, honing in on correcting their mistakes made during the 2020/21 Currie Cup competition. But at the same time they have been updating their basic skills as well as learning some new tricks.
According to head coach, Scott Mathie the squad is looking forward to their first encounter against the Sharks in Durban this weekend, even though they were well aware that they were aware of the awaiting perils of the Shark Tank.
“A trip to Durban, once again for the first game, is always going to be a tough one, but we are really looking forward to playing some rugby again after the break,” Mathie said. “We are not sure what the Sharks line-up is going to be, but they have a great squad depth there, especially and notably so with their recent new signings.”
Mathie said, however, that Griquas would not take a step back in the face of the mountain ahead of them. “The Griqua team is very driven and committed to correcting the wrongs of last season. We have come a long way as a young group and we really want to try and inch further this year and get some victories under our belt.
“So we are looking forward to the challenge on Sunday.
“As for the Sharks themselves, obviously we will have to handle their kicking game, with lots of contestables, which is an important part of their make-up. While their mauls and their mauls stoppage are well organised.
“However, we will have to be really good at that this weekend to overcome that and we will be very abrasive in the line-outs, our line-out mauling, as they are a massive breakdown threat.
“Their backline speed that they can muster, the massive pressure they put on the break down is another area we also have to focus on,” the coach concluded.
Dave Alexander and Correspondent