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Griquas roar into semis

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“What is pleasing this season is that we are now winning the tight games”

WELL BEGUN: Griqua left-wing, Anthonie Volmink scores his and his teams first try in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge clash at Tafel Lager Park on Saturday. Volmink scored his second try in the second half. Picture: Dave Alexander

A RAMPANT Tafel Lager Griqua team cruised to a 45-26 win over the much fancied Gold Lions XV at Tafel Lager Park in their last round-robin fixture of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge on Saturday. The hosts held a 24-14 lead at the half-time break.

Solid defence

Although the first half of Saturday’s game largely belonged to the hosts, a concern is that they still missed a large number of first-time tackles. However, on the positive side, their defence was pretty solid on the day.

In the end, Griquas won convincingly with an excellent display in the scrums and an almost faultless line-out performance. The tight five carried very well and, as expected, Sias Koen had his normal energetic game. The backs looked good with just a few missed tackles and wrong options costing the team at times.

Speaking to the DFA after the game, one home supporter summed it up nicely. “What is pleasing this season is that we are now winning the tight games,” he said.

Meanwhile, the unbeaten ISG Pumas cemented the top spot in the Northern Section of the competition, beating the Down Touch Griffons in Welkom and, with Griquas beating the Lions, it means that the Kimberley side ends second on the table, ahead of the semi-finals.

On Saturday at what has become the Griqua fortress, both Anthony Volmink and Khwezi Mona scored a brace of tries which helped Griquas to their emphatic win.

Left-wing Volmink was in top form on the day, while prop Khwezi Mona who also crashed over twice laid a foundation for flyhalf George Whitehead to calmly add 15 points with the boot through six conversions and a penalty to set up the comfortable win.

Saturday’s result ended the small chance the Lions had of sneaking in to a semi-final position.

Griqua conditioning and fitness coach, Jacques du Toit, spoke to the DFA after the match.

“We needed to win against the Lions in order to progress to the semi-finals and the players achieved that so that is a good achievement,” he said.

The coach pointed out, however, that Griquas had to fight for every inch of ground against determined opposition.

“The Lions held the ball well and put us under pressure by simply doing that. Credit to the Griquas on defence though, they scrambled well and showed good work ethic on defence.

“When the opposition keeps the ball so well it’s not often you able to keep them out as we did, he said. “ A couple of good moments at the breakdown also allowed us to absorb pressure and in return apply that pressure on the Lions,” he added.

Ultimately the coach was happy with the result.

“At the end of the day we’re happy to get the points and progress through to the semi-finals; that immediately becomes our next focus,” he quipped.

Griquas now have to prepare to face a wounded Western Province team at Newlands on Saturday at 2.30pm, after WP were narrowly beaten by the Boland Cavaliers yesterday. Then, earlier in the day, Boland will face the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium in the other semi-final at 12.30pm.

Point Scorers

Griquas, (Tries): Anthony Volmink (2), Khwezi Mona (2), Gideon van der Merwe, Enver Brandt. (Conversions): George Whitehead (6). (Penalty): Whitehead

Lions, (Tries): James Venter, Mandisi Mithiyane, Dillon Smit, Kennedy Mpeku. (Conversions): Eddie Fouche (3)