Griquas looked a different team and seem to have made a complete turnaround from the previous week when they were soundly beaten at home by a powerful Sharks outfit.
TAFEL Lager Griquas coach Scott Mathie has high hopes for his team after Saturday’s impressive 31-10 trouncing of the Toyota Cheetahs in their Carling Currie Cup fixture at Tafel Lager Park.
Griquas looked a different team and seem to have made a complete turnaround from the previous week when they were soundly beaten 30-16 at home by a powerful Cell C Sharks outfit.
Speaking to the DFA after the game, Mathie was obviously happy with the result.
“Yes it is a good win for us and it’s nice to get onto the log, with five points so (I am) really pleased with that. Although at times we did make life a bit difficult for ourselves with our set piece, we were able to handle large moments of pressure. We did handle the yellow card (when Griquas No.8 Hanru Sirgel was sin-binned in the 26th minute) pretty well”.
— Griquas Rugby (@GriquasRugby) June 26, 2021
The DFA also spoke to a former Griqua player who said that there was no reason this team could not go all the way. “We are extremely proud of our Griqua team. If they can believe in themselves, they can be sure of making it to the final, we know they can do it.
“If each and every player can give 110 percent, then they will be 150 percent better than any other team in the Currie Cup competition. We are proud of you after today’s performance,” he added.
During Saturday’s game, the local side started off the match very shakily making far too many mistakes. Once again there was the poor and wayward passies, ill-discipline and the forwards were far too slow getting to the breakdowns. But this time there was a definite will to win.
Despite there not being too much action in the first half, Griquas went into the break 7-3 ahead after putting sustained pressure on the Free Staters.
Whenever the Cheetahs scored, Griquas hit back hard. The first points of the match only came after 28 minutes when the visitors slotted a penalty to take the three-point lead. Griquas hit back less than 10 minutes later when fullback Masixolo Banda crossed the whitewash to score a try that was converted by George Whitehead.
Mathie said that despite the early over-eagerness, the team settled well. “We had one good set-piece try and were also working well with turnovers and keeping the ball alive, from where we scored some tries.”
However, the coach would not single out any specific player. “This was a collective effort, (our) work rate, with the guys working for each other, made a huge difference, which in the end helped us out of a lot of (tricky) situations.”
Griquas played excellently in the second half and left the Cheetahs trailing in the dust. When the Cheetahs scored their try early in the second half due to poor defensive organisation by the hosts, one feared for the worst, but this try galvanised Griquas into action instead.
Jay Cee Nel at centre showed what happens when you run straight and the forwards went up a gear. The final try by Keyter was good reward for a player who always puts his body on the line.
The tackling on Saturday was excellent and brave and was probably Griquas’ most improved aspect over last week. Cameron Lindsay’s role in the line-outs was massive for the team and the forwards played very well as a unit, except for the one defensive lapse.
Watching Saturday’s game it is obvious that the Kimberley team’s backline has real flair, but they need quick ball especially from the rucks and breakdowns in order to use space. This was proven without a doubt when Reagan Oranje came on as scrumhalf.
All in all, Saturday was great day at the office for Griquas and the team and supporters will be hoping that this is the start of great things and set them up for the rest of the campaign.
Mathie added that he was very proud of the guys and was looking forward to next week Friday, when the team takes on the New Nation Pumas at 4pm at the Mbombela Stadium for their third outing of the competition.
The Pumas are looking rather dangerous after trouncing the Lions 39-10 in their opening game in Mbombela, and then running the Bulls close on Friday to lose 32-27 at Loftus Versfeld.
So Griquas will have to bear in mind that they cannot afford to lose concentration even for a moment on Friday.
Griquas 31 (7) – Tries: Masixole Banda, Jay Cee Nel, Mzwanele Zito, Eduan Keyter. Penalty: George Whitehead. Conversions: Whitehead (4)
Free State 10 (3) – Try: Gideon van Wyk. Penalty: Ruan Pienaar. Conversion: Pienaar.