Cheetahs Super 14 star Ronnie Cooke insists Griquas won’t be the whipping boys of this year’s Currie Cup.
“Obviously everybody wants to win the cup,” Cooke told keo.co.za, “but we are just realistically looking to make the semi-finals this year. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be competitive.”
Griquas qualified for South Africa’s premier domestic competition by obtaining the third best standing in the Vodacom Cup amongst the other non-Super 14 unions. They have since been on a three-match tour of Argentina and Uruguay and only arrived back in South Africa earlier this week.
“We played some quality rugby against the very physical club sides from Rosario and Montevideo,” said Cooke. “In the third game against the Buenos Aires Eagles, the Argentine club champions, we went down 33-23, but this is not a true reflection of the game. The referee was terrible and three of our players were yellow-carded.”
Griquas also suffered some serious injuries to key players. Fullback Jose van Rensburg is out with a broke ankle while MJ Mentz sustained a shoulder injury.
Cooke himself has been ruled out for the next six weeks with a stress fracture. “It’s the same leg injury I had in the Super 14, and it has only gotten worse as I continued to play. I will only be back in the third round of the Currie Cup at the earliest.”
Griquas’s Currie Cup campaign kicks off against the Cheetahs on Saturday 23 June.
By Jon Cardinelli