Constant participation has, no doubt, forged a team culture at Griquas that is revelling in the fire and brimstone of fierce competition, finally bringing to fruition all the hard work that the coaching staff and players have put in.
IN THE not-so-distant past of last season Griquas failed to win a single Currie Cup match, and yet now, in the immediate future of tomorrow, the Kimberley-based side will be playing in their last regular season encounter against the Pumas in their hometown to secure a semi-final berth in the Carling Black Label Currie Cup (kick-off 2.30pm).
That’s quite a turnaround, and perhaps speaks to the positive impact that only constant participation in highly competitive matches can bring about. This constant participation has, no doubt, forged a team culture that is revelling in the fire and brimstone of fierce competition, finally bringing to fruition all the hard work that the coaching staff and players have put in.
Speaking on Wednesday, Griquas wing Daniel Kasende revealed as much.
“In the past seasons we’ve been struggling to show our competitive nature in terms of results.
“Like, everyone always speaks about playing the Griquas is tough, it’s difficult,” he continued, “but now this season we actually see it with our results and our wins. We are actually beating bigger unions and we are able to compete with the best in the country.
“Yes, we have kept true to our structures and our systems, but we’ve also kept true to backing the coach’s philosophy and how he wants to play. I think this season, when compared to last season, it is that we have that fluidity and we understand our systems better and that is why we are able to thrive.
“Now, it isn’t about individuals in the team, but rather that any individual can slot into play within the systems we have because we are all on the same page.”
This reinforced approach has seen the Griquas score 38 tries – the third most of the tournament behind the Bulls and Western Province; compile 330 points overall – the second most in the Cup; and allowed the team to unleash their X-factor players.
“Last season, we didn’t give ourselves the opportunity to showcase our strengths but now this season we really are working off each other,” Kasende explained.
“We are able to understand that, with a guy like (Eduan) Keyter, don’t put him in a structure, let him be more free-roaming; and a guy like Ashlon Davids, give him the freedom to run with the ball, look for space and link up with our hard-runners. We are starting to complement each other.”
The Griquas need at least two points in the hopes of securing a play-off spot, but victory tomorrow will seal the deal irrespective of whether they manage to score a bonus point or the outcome of the Sharks vs WP match later. And Kasende, who won’t be participating in the match due to injury, was confident that his teammates would do the business.
“I think Griquas are going to take it, if I am being unbiased,” he said with a cheeky chuckle.
“We are looking to the Sharks to pull us a favour,” Kasende continued in jest, before continuing in a more serious tone, “but at the end of the day the ball is in our court and we are in control. If we get the win, we don’t need to really stress about that. It is the same thing that is on the minds of the Pumas guys, so we just need to do what we need to do.”