Determination boosts ailing Griquas

Griquas coach Dawie Theron says his players are eager to face the Bulls on Saturday.

Griquas called off Monday and Tuesday’s practices in order to give several players a chance to recover from their respective illnesses. The squad resumed training on Wednesday morning and Theron feels the rest has done his team a ‘world of good’.

‘The guys were looking very sharp at practice,’ he told keo.co.za, ‘so we had a very constructive session. Hopefully we will be done with the preparations tomorrow and be ready to take on the Bulls.’

Theron has made two changes to the side that beat WP last week. Hooker Rayno Barnes and prop Albertus Buckle are still suffering from the virus, but have been bracketed on the bench. Simon Westraadt and Steph Roberts will start in their places respectively.

This has been a big boost for Theron, who is ‘surprised’ by his players’ commitment to prepare for the weekend.

‘At the start of the week, eleven players were infected with the flu. Now only two might not play this weekend.

‘In previous seasons, normally players who have the flu would rather sit out, but I have got players who are determined to play and believe there’s no way they’re staying out. So they are really focused and motivated to extend our unbeaten run.

‘However, their energy levels may be affected and our preparations have been disturbed, but hopefully we can pull through because the passion is still there.’

Griquas’ clash with the Bulls will be their toughest of the season so far, but after upsetting WP, they are confident that they can continue their dream run at the top.

‘Province are an unpredictable side, while the Bulls are more direct. So the only thing we have to change from last week is our defensive patterns and we need to sharpen our kicking game.

‘If you have a strong defensive structure and make your first-time tackles, then we will be able to put the Bulls under pressure. They also have a good kicking game, so we have to counter them with ours.’

Griquas – 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Egon Seconds, 13 Jaco Bekker, 12 Barry Geel, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jonathan Mokuena (c), 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Rohan Kitshoff, 5 Jacques Lombard, 4 Nolan Clark, 3 Ruaan du Preez, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Steph Roberts.
Subs: 16 Andries Kruger/Rayno Barnes, 17 Albertus Buckle/Zane Killian, 18 Brendon Snyman/Heinrich Stride, 19 Sean Plaatjies, 20 Dougie Helmuth, 21 Trompie Nontshinga, 22 Gavin Passens.

By Gareth Duncan