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No time to relax


The win came due to the momentum gained after the Free State XV victory.

BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS: The Tafel Lager Griqua team will not run the risk of being complacent as the SuperSport Rugby Challenge play-offs loom large. Picture: Dave Alexander

There was no time to rest for the triumphant Tafel Lager Griquas team that returned from East London Monday as they resumed their training routine in preparation
for their upcoming match in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge against the Griffons in Welkom on Friday afternoon.

Griquas beat the Sharks 38-34 in Sunday’s thriller that they controlled tightly for the most part. The result returned Griquas to the top of the central section log.

Speaking to the DFA shortly after an early morning training session at Tafel Lager Park, their Kimberley home ground, yesterday head coach Peter Engledow said that their “set pieces were very good”. He said the fact that the players had stood up against a strong side helped them seal the game.

According to the coach the win came due to the momentum gained after the Free State XV victory.

“We built up a lot of confidence there. The way we’re managing the players and the manner in which they handled the build-up detail was very good. It also goes down to the players.

“I think every player did their bit and wanted to play. It worked out for us in the end,” Engledow said.

Hand was forced

Engledow was happy with the victory, especially considering that he had to reshuffle his team due to 13 players being unavailable due to injury. His hand was forced in that Griquas had to bank on fielding relatively untested players during Sunday’s game.

Griquas seem to have hit peak performance this time around compared to a dismal Currie Cup season last year where they came very close to being relegated.

“Yes to be honest we struggled a bit,” Engledow said. “We had very good first two games then we hit a bit of a hiccup and we went out of our rhythm. It was tough.”

He said that the team is adapting well to the tough challenges this season. “The competition is stronger this year. We’ve also found a bit of rhythm and momentum, and our breakdown has improved a lot. The speed at which we get our ball helps our attack.”

Engledow said the new competition rules made it much better to manage his on-field side where he is allowed to make 12 rotational substitutions. “You can get a player on for say 20 minutes and thereafter let him rest and go back on after another 20.”

The coach revealed that apart from the nosebleed experienced by Kevin Kaba the most serious injury on the day was Jonathan Francke’s broken nose during Sunday’s game. He added that the team will take it easy this week.

Forwards coach Denzil Frans was a happy man. “The guys played well this weekend. I am happy at where we are in the competition. We’re first in our pool and we hope to finish first as well, meaning that we’re likely to have an easier quarter-final.”

He said the key against the Griffons would be to keep the players fresh this week as they were expecting a tough game. “It’s going to be a physical battle like last time in Kathu. They had the upper hand and were unlucky to lose.

“We need to sort out our rucks, because they made a few turnovers in that area. We have to guard against playing reckless rugby.”

The team will do a practice run today, rest tomorrow and practice again on Friday.