VIDEO: Griquas captain steps down
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Niel Otto has decided to step down from the Griquas captaincy.
Griquas coach Pieter Bergh, speaking ahead of the team’s Currie Cup Round Two encounter with the Sharks, revealed that fellow loose forward Hanru Sirgel will be the captain for the rest of the season.
However, Sirgel has just returned from injury and will only play off the bench against the Sharks in Kimberley on Sunday.
Stephan Smit will lead the team out, with Sirgel taking over the captaincy armband went he comes on.
Bergh said Otto, who has been struggling with the loss of his father, wants to focus on his own game and rather let someone else lead the team.
“We have a lot of respect for Neil, for making that decision,” Bergh said.
“He has the backing of the squad and shows what kind of man Neil [Otto] is.”
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Injuries have forced a couple of changes.
Malcolm Jaer is coming in at fullback, with Jay-Cee Nel moving to centre in place of the injured Sango Xamlashe – who damaged his ankle in the loss to the Cheetahs last week.
The other injury-enforced change sees Junior Banda starting at tighthead prop in place of Janu Botha, who suffered concussion in the encounter with the Cheetahs last week.
Andrew Beerwinkel, who suffered a knee injury while on loan to Boland, is also not available.
There are also a couple of tactical changes.
Carl Els comes in at No.8 for Janco Venter and Gustav du Rand starts at hooker ahead of Janco Uys, who drops down to the bench.
Griquas: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 Jay-Cee Nel, 12 Zander du Plessis, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Lubabalo Dobela, 9 Johan Mulder, 8 Carl Els, 7 Stephan Smit (captain), 6 Niel Otto, 5 Derik Pretorius, 4 Albert Liebenberg, 3 Junior Banda, 2 Gustav du Rand, 1 Kudzwai Dube.
Replacements: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Eddie Davids, 18 Cebo Dlamini, 19 Janco Venter, 20 Hanru Sirgel (captain), 21 Bobby Alexander, 22 George Whitehead, 23 Eddie Fouche.
Date: Sunday, March 19
Venue: Griqua Park, Kimberley
Kick-off: 16.05 (14.05 GMT)
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Ben Crouse
* Picture credit: Louis Botha, DFA