Despite a late attacking surge by Griquas, the Durbanites held on to set up a second successive Carling Currie Cup final against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.
THE TAFEL Lager Griquas team showed plenty of guts and big hearts despite going down 28-24 to the Cell C Sharks at Jonnson Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
Despite a late attacking surge by the visitors, the Durbanites held on to set up a second successive Carling Currie Cup final against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Sharks win, despite their game being well below par, was mainly set up by their driving maul which the visitors battled to match.
Visiting captain Ruan Steenkamp, in his post-match interview, acknowledged that the Sharks may just have had the edge on the day, but made it clear that he was proud of his team.
“I am very proud of the boys. We fought it out throughout the season. We showed there’s character in the team and that’s important,” he said.
“I must say today was awesome,” Steenkamp added. “That’s how a semi-final must be played; it was tough throughout the 80 minutes.
“Well done to the Sharks who are going to the final. They deserve it today, and they fought it out till the end.”
Asked about the fans back home, Steenkamp thanked the loyal supporters. “Our fans, even though they couldn’t be in the stadiums, they supported us throughout the season,” he said. “I must say Kimberley is a small community and they live for their rugby, for Griquas, so thank you to you all.”
The skipper was not despondent after the loss, but cast his gaze ahead. “We brought it to the semis, so hopefully we can just build on it for next year,” he said.
On Saturday, Griquas’ defence was once again very good, but they still made far too many basic errors, knocking on the ball and there were cracks in their discipline on odd occasions in the scrums.
Having said that, there was a vast improvement in their line-outs.
Unfortunately, handling errors by both sides spoilt the game as a spectacle. It was a close and tense contest throughout with Adre Smith brilliant for Griquas. He was rewarded for his hard work with a try just after the half-time break.
The visiting team showed guts and their familiar fighting spirit, and can look back at a very good season with some excellent results.
Griquas have reached the semi-finals of the Currie Cup twice in the last three seasons. Now hope and expectation is growing that the team can go one step further next season.
Fans would be disappointed with the result, after all who wouldn’t want their team in the final? However, every supporter can be extremely proud of the guts shown by Griquas throughout the season.
Speaking to the DFA, Griquas head coach Scott Mathie admitted that the Sharks did enough to win.
“Yes it was obviously disappointing that the Sharks are going into the final, but they did show a lot of character like they have done the whole season.”
The coach added that it was almost frustrating how close things were through the game. “This is finals rugby and it’s not often that key moments don’t go your way and unfortunately we probably went on the wrong end of decisions and we didn’t finish the opportunities,” he said. “Especially the ones that we created.
“But, being a big game like this, (key moments) need to go your way, but the Sharks did enough to win – winning key moments that they were presented with … ultimately maybe that is why we lost.
“However, in the end, we are really proud of these guys. I think it was an exceptional season and we really take our hats off to the whole management squad and players for their efforts and what they have achieved this year,” Mathie added.