Home Sport Underdogs or not, Griquas will not submit meekly to Sharks

Underdogs or not, Griquas will not submit meekly to Sharks

Griquas head coach Pieter Bergh. Picture: Danie van der Lith

Griquas will give no inch to the Sharks in crunch second leg of the season match.

THE WINDHOEK Draught Griquas versus Cell C Sharks encounter in the domestic Carling Currie Cup competition on Wednesday evening is expected to be a physically taxing match at the renamed Windhoek Draught Park in Kimberley at 5.45pm.

Wednesday’s match is the sixth and last home game for Griquas in the first leg of the domestic season and signals the start of the second leg of the tournament.

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As matters stand Griquas are placed fourth on the competition log with 15 points. Immediately ahead of them are the visiting Sharks with 18 points while the Vodacom Bulls are second at 25 points and the Toyota Cheetahs rule the roost, for now, with 26 points.

Griquas will be well advised to gun for a win, their opponents stature notwithstanding as that will push them up the ranking to third place where they will displace the Sharks who would have lost out on points.

Griquas scrum half Reagan Oranje reckoned that it would not be easy to achieve that. “It is going to be a tough game and all of that … obviously we’ve put in the training and I feel that we are very confident going into this match. We really have a chance to win even though the Sharks are going in as the top dogs.

“But you know what they say about underdogs. Griquas have never been intimidated by teams like these. Obviously when you get here not only is the field hard but the players are harder, so it’s going to be a hard day in the office for them.”

Griquas head coach Pieter Bergh hinted that the hosts have to make the most of their final home fixture. “We are positive and confident. It’s our last home game now of five in a row before we play away from home again.

“It’s a good Sharks team but we’ve made one change from our previous match against the Lions. George Whitehead is back, so yes, we are looking forward to that match.

“Whitehead is fully recovered and has played a 60 minutes practice match against the Leopards the other day so he is fully recovered,” the coach said.

The inclusion of Whitehead will boost the Griquas side’s kicking game as Zander du Plessis who filled that slot albeit at No.12, is retained at his usual spot.

Bergh liked the idea of having two kickers in the team. “It’s good to have two kickers; George will take up the kicking duties and Zander will be backup kicker,” he said.

The Griquas mentor has also tinkered with the front row slightly with the veteran Simon Westraadt (36) coming in at No.2. Other than that Griquas have retained most of the line-up they have relied upon this season.

Whitehead will have available the services of Sango Xamlashe at outside centre and Rhynhardt Joncker and Munier Hartzenberg who complete the back three for the side.

Xamlashe, speaking to the DFA, said he expected a nail-biter. “It will be a good decider in terms of our play-off position and how we’d like to end off round two in this competition,” he said. “Sharks are a healthy side versus another healthy side. I think it’s going to be a tough contest and it will definitely go down to the wire,” he added.

Sango Xamlashe the Griquas outside centre pictured at Windhoek Draught Park. Picture: Neville Motlhabakwe

Xamlashe, who will experience his second outing against this Sharks side said he will be looking forward to rectifying the mistakes made in the last game against the KZN team.

Fadzai Dube who will be on the substitutes bench on Wednesday thinks every game has the same process for him. “I know they have a good mauling system. They have good runners. We’ve prepared for that so we will just have to see how it goes,” he said.

Eddie Davids, who is in his debut season in the Northern Cape and will be earning his seventh cap with Griquas, had a humorous take on tomorrow’s game.

“Yes. They are big boys, the Sharks. We are expecting a set piece battle, scrums, line-outs, mauls and so forth. Physically we are up for it.

“I am excited for the game. It’s always nice playing against these bigger unions, you know. So that you can match yourself against the big guys.”

Then, amid much laughter Davids added: “I would have liked to play them earlier (in the day) at like 3pm in the afternoon so that they get a taste of the heat in Kimberley at that time of the afternoon. Quarter to six is still a nice time but it’s too cool for them at that time.”

The game will start at 5.45pm with vaccine card carrying spectators allowed.

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