The Tafel Lager Griquas were not fully prepared and lacked urgency in the loose
Western Province and the Golden Lions this weekend leapt into third and fourth place respectively on the Currie Cup Premier Division log in a vital boost for their semi-final hopes, while the Sharks matched the seven-match winning run they last achieved in the 2010 season.
Here at home, however, the Tafel Lager Griquas found themselves on the receiving end of the Lions’ rampage and hopes of improving their log standing were all but shattered in the first half of the clash at Tafel Lager Park on Friday evening, when the visitors stormed to a 24-0 lead before the break.
Griquas did seem to come alive in the second half yet still ended up 34-17 losers despite a spirited second-half performance. In the end, that first period of play where the Lions were allowed to score with abandon had ultimately created a yawning chasm that was just too big for the hosts to fill.
After eight games in the competition Griquas now prop up the Currie Cup table with just 16 points; and their future looks pretty bleak with some seriously tough encounters on the horizon. First they host the Sharks on Friday, and then travel down to the Cape to take on a rampant Western Province on September 23.
A week later, on October 7, they travel to the Mbombela Stadium to where the Steval Pumas are undoubtedly preparing a bed of nails for their guests.
Some former Griqua players were not impressed with the home side’s performance on Friday, saying that although they defended pretty well it was obvious that they were not fully committed and lacked urgency in the loose.
They also said that the missed tackles, their poor line-out work and the fact that there were zero clean-outs from the rucks and mauls were all a recipe for the disaster that eventually happened.
The Lions defence was, however, impeccable during the match and the visitors hardly missed any tackles, while they also made better use of their ball possession.
Griquas assistant coach Dave Hesketh said that the team was unfortunately not yet displaying their full potential.
“Obviously it’s disappointing not to be getting the wins that we and the supporters would like to see,” Hesketh said. “We must cut down on our errors and improve our set-piece so we can hold onto the ball in the right areas for longer periods of time.
“This team has great potential, we must just realise that and keep working hard on the key areas of our game.
“The commitment from the whole squad has been excellent during this period, and we do feel we are making progress.”
The coach did, however, say that the depth of the squad is being severely tested.
“Disruptions to the team, which are currently testing our depth, is also something which we must learn to deal with better,” he told the DFA.
Sharks 27-25 Pumas
Western Province 57-14 FS Cheetahs