Home Sport Griquas expect Pumas to bring their A-game to SA Cup final

Griquas expect Pumas to bring their A-game to SA Cup final

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Griquas, being cheered on by their home crowd and having an unbeaten record, will seek to leverage their momentum to secure victory. On the other hand, the Pumas, known for their dynamic and powerful gameplay, are capable of bringing their A-game to finals and will aim to upset the hosts.

Sako Makata from the Griquas is seen pushing off a Pumas player during a previous match at Suzuki Park in Kimberley. Picture: Danie van der Lith

KIMBERLEY’S Suzuki Park is set to be the hub of rugby excitement this weekend as the Suzuki Griquas prepare to host the Airlink Pumas in the SA Cup final.

Griquas secured their home final with a commanding 39-17 victory over the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, while the Pumas cemented their place in the showdown by overwhelming the NovaVit Griffons 43-14 at the Mbombela Stadium.

The Kimberley team finished the round-robin phase unbeaten, topping the log with 45 points. Their stellar form throughout the season has granted them the advantage of hosting the final, a fitting reward for their consistent and outstanding performances.

Under the guidance of coach Pieter Bergh, the Peacock Blues have been a force to be reckoned with, demonstrating resilience and skill in every match.

In their crucial encounter against the Cheetahs last week, Griquas held a narrow 15-10 lead at halftime. However, they dominated the second half, pulling away from the Free Staters with a series of well-executed plays.

Fullback Cameron Hufke was a standout performer, crossing the try line twice. Flyhalf George Whitehead, a pivotal figure for the Griquas, contributed significantly with three conversions, a penalty goal, and a drop goal.

The match also marked the end of an era, as former Springbok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar played his last competitive game for the Cheetahs. Pienaar, who has had an illustrious career with the Cheetahs and the Springboks, scored two conversions and a penalty goal in his final appearance, bringing his distinguished rugby journey to a close.

The Pumas, finishing second on the log with 41 points, ensured their spot in the final with a comprehensive victory over the Griffons. Their robust performance throughout the season has set the stage for an exciting clash against the Griquas.

In preparation for the highly-anticipated final match, Griquas Assistant Coach Franco van der Merwe revealed that the team has been meticulously preparing since January, when the Airlink Cup started.

“This week, we’ve been focusing on polishing the final touches, ensuring the team has the right mindset and energy for the weekend,” van der Merwe said.

Reflecting on their previous encounter against the Pumas in Kimberley, he added, “We performed well in scrumming last time, but we’re aware they’ve likely analysed our play. We’ve committed to further improving our scrumming this week.”

Griquas captain Stephan Smit praised his teammates, highlighting the exceptional camaraderie and dedication within the squad.

“The group of guys this year is phenomenal, and the atmosphere during training is fantastic,” Smit said. “Their effort and preparation make it a pleasure to lead this team, and they make my job as captain easy.”

With both teams showcasing exceptional rugby, the upcoming final is set to be a thrilling contest.

Griquas, being cheered on by their home crowd and having an unbeaten record, will seek to leverage their momentum to secure victory. On the other hand, the Pumas, known for their dynamic and powerful gameplay, are capable of bringing their A-game to finals and will aim to upset the hosts.

Will this final echo last year’s Currie Cup, where the Pumas snatched the trophy from the Griquas in a dramatic home final? Or will the Griquas harness their momentum and lift the trophy on their home ground?

Rugby fans can expect a hard-fought battle as these two formidable teams face off for the prestigious SA Cup title. Kimberley is ready for a rugby spectacle, and the stage is set for an unforgettable finale to the SA Cup.

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