Home Sport Things are falling into place for Griquas

Things are falling into place for Griquas

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Griquas were especially impressive in how they hit back each time the Lions put points on the board.

Reinhardt Nothnagel of the Sigma Lions tackles Eduan Keyter of the Tafel Lager Griquas during the 2021 Carling Black Label Currie Cup Rugby match at Emirates Airline Park. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackapagePix

After a narrow win over Western Province in Cape Town two weeks ago, the Tafel Lager Griquas showed that they are not messing around in this year’s Currie Cup when they ran up a 31-41 win over the Sigma Lions at their Emirates Airline Park fortress.

Griqua winger Eduan Keyter was red hot on the day, crossing the whitewash four times. Griqua flyhalf George Whitehead had a few hiccups at the start of the game missing a couple of attempts at goal but in the end, managed to slot five conversions and two penalties.

At the end of the game, the Lions were two men down after a red card dished out to EW Viljoen shortly after the break, and a yellow card for Duncan Matthews in the 73rd minute. However, the Gauteng boys still piled on the pressure hunting for at least a bonus point, but in the end, Griquas held on and claimed a bonus-point win, taking them to the top of the Currie Cup standings, albeit that they have already played six games – with the other teams having played five and four matches.

Griquas were especially impressive in how they hit back each time the hosts put points on the board. The fighting spirit in this Griqua team is something to behold, as was witnessed in their last outing when they outwrestled the WP team.

Also read: Awesome foursome by Keyter gives Griquas win in Joburg

Griqua coach Scott Mathie spoke to the DFA after the game, “Yes, a good win away from home, really big win to collect five points at Emirates Ellis Park. I thought our game was on point, where we pressurised them into making a few mistakes, which we capitalised on,” he said.

With Griquas having now moved up to top spot on the Currie Cup log they need to keep improving as the games will not be getting any easier as the season carries on. And with chasing teams having games in hand they cannot sit on their laurels just yet.

But things have been improving steadily for the Kimberley team, in their opening match against the Sharks Griquas had allowed vital set-piece opportunities to go begging due to poor decision-making giving the KZN team two very soft tries back-to-back, which broke a lot of Griquas’ momentum.

The Kimberley team went back to the drawing board and blew the Cheetahs off the park in their next game, only to come crashing back to earth against the Pumas in Mbombela a week later when they lost narrowly thanks to struggles with their set-pieces.

Then came the Stormers, a team that seemed impossible for Griquas to beat in Cape Town until early July 2021 when the Kimberley team finally rewrote the record books after a 100-year dry spell in that tight 28-30 win.

Also read: Griquas flying high after historic win in Cape Town

Griquas had been struggling with their scrums and though there were not many scrums in the Stormers game, Griquas coped well and there was also a marked improvement in the line-outs where they also had some problems previously.

On Wednesday, the one worrying aspect about the Griqua performance was once again the scrumming, especially when the Lions brought fresh props into the game. Griquas seem to be struggling on the tighthead side and this is demoralising for the forwards who must dread scrumming at times.

To give away a scrum penalty when the opposition is down to six forwards is worrying.

Mathie admitted that they needed some work in that department. ”The scrumming is a point we need to work on here, it’s an area that we really need to put some time into to be able to secure our ball, which didn’t go too well. Besides that, I am really pleased with how the game went.”

The Griquas line-outs worked well on Wednesday and Adre Smith and Ruan Steenkamp shone in the forward exchanges. Jay Cee Nel at centre is strong and physical and Ashlon Davids at fullback is a great improvement as he always looks safe and above that, he is skillful. His kick for one of Keyter’s tries was a gem.

Griquas have proved many of their doubters wrong. After all, it’s been a while since a Griqua team beat two of South Africa’s top teams in the Currie Cup in consecutive matches away from home. This was a truly excellent performance and a good run thus far.

One even dares to say that this could be why the Bulls chose to play the SA ‘A’ team rather than Griquas last Saturday. But this is no time to be overconfident with the dangerous and powerful Sharks team waiting for Griquas at the Shark Tank next Saturday.

Additional Reporting by Dave Alexander

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