Home Sport Griquas out to win their first Currie Cup semi-final

Griquas out to win their first Currie Cup semi-final

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Griquas will not be fooled into believing that the Bulls’ Currie Cup side is a second-string outfit due to the team’s URC final commitments.

Stravino Jacobs of the Bulls is challenged by Sango Xamlashe the Griquas during the Carling Currie Cup 2021/22 match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria on 7 May 2022. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

PUNDITS have cautioned the Windhoek Draught Griquas not to be complacent against the Vodacom Bulls who they meet on Friday in a domestic Carling Currie Cup semi-final encounter at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria at 7pm.

The stakes are high for the Kwaste who have a chance this weekend to rise to the heights of the team’s heydays in the 1970s when they were crowned Currie Cup champions.

The Northern Cape side runs out against the Bulls in what is billed as a historic moment for the Griquas as they have never been able to win a Currie Cup semi-final match – with their titles coming during the years before the competition was decided via a knockout round.

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Griquas back Sango Xamlashe accompanied by team manager Lance Salter made it known that the team have picked up a lot of confidence over the last couple of weeks where they stunned some of the favoured bigger unions.

“The Currie Cup presents different challenges weekly. We go out with the pure intention to come out looking good from the contest”, Salter said.

He added that as far as Griquas were concerned they are in a good place and they are confident of their plan for this weekend. “We can repeat the excellent performance we’ve demonstrated in the last couple of games,” the manager told the media.

And the run has been impressive. Last week Griquas beat the Airlink Pumas 45-44 at the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit. Prior to that encounter Griquas had one over DHL Western Province winning 43-41 in Stellenbosch.

ALSO READ: Boshoff’s last minute kick gives Griquas win in Currie Cup thriller

In all Griquas had strung together three wins on the trot which include a memorable 46-18 win over the now log topping Toyota Cheetahs; that win stopping their neighbours’ unbeaten nine-game run dead in the tracks at the time.

Griquas, however, go into Friday’s semi-final encounter against the Bulls without the availability of key players who are out injured. Salter said that they will have to do without the services of key players. Among those on the injury watch list are Stefan Ungerer and Simon Westraadt.

The rest of the squad, he said, will be announced at Thursday’s press briefing.

The rugby pundits have agreed that the Bulls will probably have their keenest focus on getting their side doing just enough to triumph in the domestic league based on the fact that they will be saving their big guns for the United Rugby Championship final. This will leave the Currie Cup Bulls contingent thinly strung, which could cause problems against the motivated and inspired side that Griquas have been of late.

Salter emphasised that Griquas will for this game focus on getting over the line and putting points on the board.

Xamlashe said he was of the view that even though the talk is that the Bulls will likely have to field a below par squad against them based on the other commitments they have, he was nonetheless expecting them to call on their best for this game.

“We believe the Bulls will actually post their strongest side that they can put together. They’ve got depth. We are preparing like it is a semi-final,” he said.

In the other semi-final battle the Airlink Pumas, whom Griquas dealt with last week, will travel to the Toyota Free State Stadium to lock horns with the Cheetahs in a lunch-hour encounter starting at 1.30pm.

This fixture, similar to the one of Griquas versus the Bulls, is expected to turn out favourably for the smaller unions this time around and probably feature either or both in the domestic finale.

That by itself is a prospect not witnessed for moons in local rugby.

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