The Currie Cup's major flaw
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: This season’s Currie Cup schedule has been very problematic for the Griquas management.
The Kimberley side’s last Currie Cup fixture was against the Bulls on May 7.
The Griquas suffered a 38-48 defeat to the Pretoria side before a bye week.
They have been on a break for three weeks and played a friendly against South Africa Under-20 on May 16.
Speaking to reporters Griquas backline coach Brendell Brand admitted the extended breaks have been a disadvantage to the teams that don’t feature in an additional tournament.
“We try to keep the players busy and retain match fitness with contact sessions.” Brand said.
“We played a friendly [against SA U20] in an effort to replicate match intensity. However, it’s very difficult.
“It is not only about the game prep, it’s about the mental aspect as well.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have an additional competition to give those fringe players game time – we are in the same boat as Cheetahs – and it is very difficult, especially for a team like us.”
‘Respect everybody, but fear none’
Griquas – currently in fourth position, with 21 points from nine games – host the unbeaten Cheetahs in Kimberley on Saturday.
The Cheetahs, steered by Springboks veterans Ruan Pienaar and Frans Steyn, have been incredible and with only three rounds remaining, the Bloemfontein will want to secure a win to leapfrog the Bulls at the top of the standings.
For the Griquas, this match is just as important.
The Pumas (20 points from nine matches) are hot on their heels in fifth in the battle for play-offs spots.
“We have huge respect for Cheetahs, especially guys like Ruan Pienaar and Frans Steyn,” Brand said.
“However, on the field, we are going up against 15 men. Our backline is exciting and our motto for this year is to respect everybody, but fear none.”
He added: “Without giving away anything we have done our homework and we not what to expect.
“We have a very young backline, we have George Whitehead which is one of the seniors and for us, it’s just about following our processes and trying to dominate proceedings.”
Fullback Rynhardt Jonker, currently on loan from the Sharks, identified the Cheetahs’ kicking game as one of the major threats.
“We have placed a big emphasis on the Cheetahs’ kicking,” Jonker said, adding: “Frans Steyn has a huge boot on him and we have done loads of reviews on him and Pienaar.
“I also think they will give us a different picture regarding the defence so we really look forward to the challenge.”