Griquas turn to Strand
Griquas coach Pote Human wasted no time in drafting in his latest recruit, Leopards lock Victor Kruger, for the Currie Cup crunch match against the Golden Lions in Kimberley on Saturday.
The 24-year-old PUK (Potchefstroom University) Varsity Cup captain, who is affectionately known as Strand, comes in for Australian import Rory Arnold – who is still awaiting the outcome of his disciplinary hearing, after having been charged with biting in the 20-40 loss to the Free State Cheetahs last week.
Injuries forced more changes on Human.
Patrick O'Brien, who made his debut off the bench last week, will make his first start for Griquas. He was loaned to Griquas, having been a member of an extended Western Province training squad in the pre-season, and replaces Springbok Hilton Lobberts – who fractured his arm last week.
"Both of them are available for the rest of the Currie Cup," Human said of his new lock pairing.
"People don't understand what a huge blow Hilton Lobberts's injury is to us.
"We're not even halfway yet and we've already used up all our depth in that position. Luckily both Patrick and Victor are hungry for game time."
A groin injury to No.8 Leon Karemaker forced further changes to the pack – Marnus Schoeman coming in at No.6 and Carel Greeff moving to eighthman.
"We gave Leon a chance to prove that he can play, but he did not pass the fitness test. Now we welcome back Marnus Schoeman, who will definitely be out to make his presence felt at the rucks and mauls," the coach said.
There are a couple of rotational switches in the backline – Jean Stemmet replacing JP Nel at outside centre and Richard Lawson coming in on the right wing for Nico Scheepers.
The bench will see unheralded Dalton Davis making his Griquas debut as loose forward cover.
However, it is at lock where Griquas' depth has really been tested.
Lobberts (fractured arm) was joined on the sidelined by Rynhardt Landman (out for at least another four weeks after he fractured his thumb in the first game against the Sharks in Durban), Jaco Nepgen (is out for at least another two weeks, after he re-injured his shoulder against Western Province in Round Three) and Jonathan Adendorff (hospitalised and will miss at least another four weeks after he got stabbed in a mugging after the Province game).
Others on the injury list include Karemaker (one week to his return), Janro van Niekerk (two weeks) and Dusty Noble (two weeks).
Prop Lourens Adriaanse and utility back Willie le Roux is also on Springbok duty and unavailable.
Griquas: 15 PJ Vermeulen, 14 Richard Lawson, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Burger Schoeman, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Victor Kruger, 4 Patrick O'Brien, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Dobson, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Dalton Davis, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 JP Nel.
Date: Saturday, September 7
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Jason Jaftha
Assistant referees: Tiaan Jonker, Nico Schmahl
TMO: Johan Greeff