Gallant Griquas plan ahead

Griquas coach Dawie Theron looked back at this season as an important one for his side, and believes that the Kimberley-based union will become a real force in years to come.

Predictably, Griquas finished the league stage in sixth position, but they were highly competitve, scoring a few shock wins over bigger teams like the Sharks and the Lions. Theron mentioned that if luck had gone their way this season, they could have seriously challenged for a playoff spot.

“The wheels came off with all the injuries we suffered this year,” he said. “Guys like Willie Wepener, JP Joubert, Herkie Kruger, Ronnie Cooke… they’re all talented players, and so to lose them had a detrimental effect to the success of our campaign.”

Griquas were hammered in their final game at Newlands, going down 55-17 to a rampant Vodacom Western Province outfit. They started the game strongly, but lost their way after lock Lodie Britz was shown a yellow card by referee Jonathan Kaplan. This incident allowed WP to score 12 points in the 10 minute period of disadvantage and take the game away from the Kimberley side.

“We can’t afford to lose a man when we play against the bigger unions,” Theron remarked. “But it has to be said that it was one of those games where nothing went right for us.”

Having reached the conclusion of their season, Theron and his management team are planning for next year’s campaign. More than 15 players are needed to win a title, and the focus will be on building up a squad of quality players.

“We need to work hard in ensuring that we have a squad that has depth in every position. Once we’ve achieved that, then we can start implementing the rotation system as well when we play the smaller unions.”

The contradiction in Theron’s mission statement is that he recently allowed talented hooker Tiaan Liebenberg to join WP. The former Springbok prop explained that this concession was necessary when considering the bigger picture.

“That move was about money. Creating depth also involves making business decisions, and so when Tiaan left we obtained an amount that we can put towards contracting more players.

“It’s not lekker for right now, but hopefully we will reap the benefits in the long term.”

By Jon Cardinelli