Dale College believe they can push Grey High all the way in their match in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
After beating Selborne College for the first time in six years, Dale let their foot off the gas against Kingswood, losing 15-14 in the dying stages. This week’s Grey PE clash represents Dale’s chance to rediscover the form that saw them down their East London rivals.
‘We didn’t play anywhere near our potential against Kingswood [despite outscoring the victors two tries to none] which we demonstrated against Selborne,’ Dale 1st XV coach Grant Griffiths told keo.co.za. ‘We’ve blown hot and cold this season, but if we play against Grey like we did against Selborne, we’ll be competitive.’
Grey PE present a tough task for Dale, particularly at home.
‘Grey have a big pack of forwards and quick backs, so it’ll be a testing match for us,’ said Griffiths. ‘Playing away is always harder, but the boys will just have to adapt; there will be no excuses about away fixtures. The weather forecast looks good, so it’s up to us to step up.’
Griffiths admits his side needs to up their game across the park if this is to be the case.
‘Our counterattacking, which is usually a strength, was poor [against Kingswood],’ he said. ‘Support players didn’t fall back to help the back three, and generally we didn’t get enough numbers to the ball – the forwards hung back far too much.’
But the work done ahead of this weekend’s match is more about smoothing rough edges than reinventing the wheel.
‘We’ve payed particular attention to our fringe defence, around the breakdown and contact in lineouts, but it’s more a case of tightening up than anything else – we’ll stick to our strengths,’ said Griffiths. ‘We have strong runners in our backline so we’ll look to use them to set up phases, suck in defenders, then spread the ball wide.’
By Rory Keohane