Griquas will look to salvage some pride on home soil
The Tafel Lager Griquas have another chance to salvage some pride for themselves when they clash with the Golden Lions at Tafel Lager Park, the local rugby mecca, tomorrow night when the second half of the Currie Cup season gets under way.
The two teams are pretty evenly matched going into the game with both having completed seven games, winning two matches each, drawing none and losing five encounters apiece. Griquas with 16 points, however, have one point more on the log over the Lions who are bottom with 15.
Griquas’ campaign in this competition has thus far been characterised by narrow losses, where in almost each case they were pipped by a margin of less than 10 points, that is, except against the Cell C Sharks who walloped them 41-3 in Durban a month ago.
In their last game a week ago Griquas lost by the narrowest of margins when they succumbed 44-42 to the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in a game their coach, Peter Engledow, said they should have won.
When Griquas last took to the field against the Lions at Emirates Park the hosts recorded a 48-43 win over the Kimberley side.
It’s painfully obvious that should Griquas not overcome the Lions tonight they will find themselves cemented to the bottom rungs of the Currie Cup log as the leading pack races even further ahead as the season winds down.
However, should Griquas win tomorrow’s game it will catapult them to third on the log, albeit briefly. Their climb up the table depends largely on the result of two games. The first is the Pumas vs Sharks encounter which plays two hours earlier in Nelspruit, the second is the Western Province against Free State Cheetahs game in Cape Town on Saturday.
The permutations suggest that WP stand to benefit most from a win, but if the Cheetahs prevail, they will be back on top of the log, level-pegging with the Sharks.
As far as Griquas are concerned, other games, results and log movements are out of their hands, but a win tomorrow will be a definite boost to the ‘Poubloues’ morale after coming within a whisker in far too many matches this season.
Griquas’ most capped player Johnathan Francke attempted to explain the narrow losses by his team.
“When we are behind we play rugby until the 80th minute, but when we are in front we chill. We’re trying to eliminate that and finish the guys (our opponents).”
Francke was adamant that all is not lost for Griquas yet in this series. He says winning just three of their five remaining games will certainly haul Griquas to the top echelons of the log.
But of course fans can be assured that Griquas will be determined to vanquish every opponent, starting tomorrow with the Pride of Lions.