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Griquas need to pick up where they left off as they prepare to face determined WP


The Kimberley team has momentum, coming straight off a 48-18 drubbing of the fancied Toyota Cheetahs at home in Kimberley last week.

Windhoek Draught Griquas during a practice session ahead of this weekend’s clash against Western province. Picture: Danie van der Lith

WINDHOEK Draught Griquas are off to the west coast to meet the formidable DHL Western Province in their penultimate match in the Carling Cup domestic series where they hope to consolidate enough points towards a semi-final place in the competition.

Ordinarily when looking at this fixture and weighing the various strengths of the two sides, one would be inclined to think that this might be a tough assignment for Griquas.

That assumption would be grossly erroneous given the recent past historic encounters between the two where Western Province came off second best.

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To start with WP have not had a memorable season this time around. Just about any other team in the series has triumphed over the western Cape side. The results of that underwhelming performance is evident in their current league position which is at second from bottom with 13 points.

Griquas, for their money, are top end residents of that same league at number three with 26 points from five wins out of 10 matches. At that spot they have confirmed their intention to tough it out with the big guns in the championship stakes. Thus for Griquas it is a legitimate dream to hustle for a spot in semis. Western Province is but another obstacle in their path.

The Kimberley team has momentum, coming straight off a 48-18 drubbing of the fancied Toyota Cheetahs at home in Kimberley last week. Prior to that game Griquas had taken the unusual detour of playing a midweek game against the South Africa A side in Bloemfontein.

That match was timed to shake off the rust induced by prolonged sessions of gawking at the United Rugby Championships currently holding the rugby universe in thrall. The results of that gamble will hopefully be in evidence as well this Friday at the Cape’s rugby mecca.

George Whitehead, the prolific kicker, will not be on the bus as he is carrying an injury, while Lock Mzwanele Zito will stay at home now for almost the fifth week in a row. Others on the medics lists include Andrew Beerwinkel, Ruan Steenkamp, Prince Nkabinde, Jan-Louis la Grange, Justin Forwood and Carl Els.

However, on the bus will be the likes of Kudzwai Dube who now makes regular starts and has pushed Eddie Davis to the bench for this match.

Windhoek Draught Griquas winger Luther Obi during a recent practice session. Picture: Danie van der Lith

Another starter for the ‘Kwaste’ is outside centre Sango Xamlashe. One would imagine that Xamlashe would be eager for the trip down to the Cape seeing that he broke the ice against Cheetahs by dotting down the first of a clutch of Griquas tries. He is part of a backline brotherhood that stunted the Cheetahs attack last week in Kimberley and helped the side turn the tables against the Free Staters.

Flyhalf Johan Mulder would be good to watch for a repeat of his Cheetahs performance. The same goes for Luther Obi and Rynhardt Jonker who got onto the scoreboard for Griquas against their neighbours. Coach Pieter Bergh has wisely opted to stay with the proven, in-form players.

Of the two sides in Friday afternoon’s clash in the Cape, Griquas are probably the better motivated based on log position. But it is important for every player to be looking to improve on his personal best performance against the Cape side that may have a surprise up their sleeve.

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