Home Sport Griqua coach ecstatic with team’s first win

Griqua coach ecstatic with team’s first win

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The Kimberley side ran in seven tries for a 43-0 victory over the EP Elephants.

Griqua captain Stefan Ungerer gets the ball in play during the SA Rugby Preparation Series match against the EP Elephants at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday. Picture: Michael Sheehan, Gallo Images

TAFEL Lager Griquas seemed determined to shake off their extended losing streak when they thrashed their hosts, EP Elephants in Gqeberha on Wednesday evening.

The Kimberley side ran in seven tries for a 43-0 victory – their first win since South African rugby returned to action in the Covid-19 ravaged domestic season.

Wednesday’s win was coach Scott Mathie’s first victory as Griquas coach. Their first two fixtures of the current series ended in Griquas losing closely to the Sharks and the Stormers earlier in the Preparation Series.

Previously Griquas had endured a torrid run in their Super Rugby Unlocked – six losses from six games – and Currie Cup – 11 losses and one draw from 12 games – campaigns.

On Wednesday, Griquas could have run up a monstrous tally but had some of their own ‘problems’ with sloppy play at times. Once again lapses in concentration resulted in poor handling and their overeagerness robbed them of a handful of additional try-scoring opportunities which would have taken the score well beyond the half-century mark.

However, one great improvement for the Griquas pack was that they were in a ruthless mood, dominating the scrums and winning a steady stream of penalties, especially from their line-outs from which six of their tries were scored as they fully utilised the rolling maul.

Only one of the seven tries was scored by a backline player when James Verity-Amm, who came on in the second half to replace Masixole Banda at fullback, dotted down.

One area of particular concern for Griquas was in their inaccuracy in the team’s place kicking. Had they been more clinical they could have led by more than 17-0 at the half-time break.

The second half produced many more opportunities for the visitors that, regrettably, were undone by clumsy mistakes. Griquas controlled the breakdowns, territory and possession, and it was clear they knew where to attack the home team, and they should have capitalised more.

Speaking to the DFA on their return from the Windy City, an extremely excited and elated coach, Scott Mathie, said that despite the many errors he would take the win.

“It was very difficult conditions as the ball was slippery and soaked especially at night, which accounted for a few errors. We still want to be a bit more clinical in our execution, but I thought the forwards were great and they mauled well and the set piece went really well, which was a massive plus,” he said.

Mathie went on by saying that he was really happy with the team’s defence. “We focused a lot on our defence from the Province game and I thought the guys were very abrasive in the tackle and the contact collisions were good. We were much better in our tackle efficiencies, so I am really pleased with that and great to get a win.

“It just gives us a lot more energy going forward,” he added.

Point Scorers

Tafel Lager Griquas (Tries): Penalty try, Gideon Van der Merwe 2, HJ Luus 3, James Verity-Amm, (Conversions): Ashlon Davids 3.