Griquas' Boks the key in Shark Tank
Griquas will rely on the experience of two Bok forwards, Lourens Adriaanse and Hilton Lobberts, when their Currie Cup campaign gets underway.
Griquas will rely heavily on the experience of two Springbok forwards, prop Lourens Adriaanse and lock Hilton Lobberts, when their Currie Cup campaign gets underway.
The men from Kimberley head to Durban on Friday to get the 2013 season underway against a Sharks team now being guided by Brendan Venter.
It is a tall order for the only side in the competition that is not a fully-fledged Super Rugby franchise and gets only a handful of players back from the Cheetahs after the Super Rugby season.
Rynard Landman, Lourens Adriaanse and Ryno Barnes are the only players who featured in the Cheetahs squad this year hat are available this week.
And they will face a Sharks team that could feature as many as nine Boks on Friday - not including those on duty with the national team at present or out injured.
Griquas coach Pote Human admitted that his team will be up against it, especially at the start of the season.
"You speak of a Super Rugby franchise that had tough competition for months and we played in the Vodacom Cup," Human told this website.
"We also didn't have a very good Vodacom Cup [competition], but I have to add that the players are keen to get cracking."
The return of Landman, Adriaanse and Barnes, along with the recruiting of Lobberts, will be crucial to the Griquas cause.
"They will make a huge difference, especially in terms of their experience," Human said, adding: "Rynard [Landman] showed his true value in the last few games that he played for the Cheetahs. He provided some great line-out options.
"Lourens Adriaanse, who was in the Bok squad earlier in the year, do add something special to the team.
"Ryno Barnes, who is our captain, is very hungry. He had very little game time in Super Rugby with the Cheetahs [behind Springbok hooker and Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss] and they will all make a huge difference."
However, it is Adriaanse and Lobberts that will be the anchor for Griquas in the set pieces.
"He is very unlucky not to be in the Bok squad," the coach said of Adriaanse - who was called up to the South Africa squad for the 2013 mid-year Tests against Italy, Scotland and Samoa.
Although he never featured in any of the matches, Human believes the first cap is not far away.
"He must be very close and any injuries could see him being called up," Human told this website.
"His experience and his playing style, his great work ethic, makes him a very exciting addition to our group."
He added that he is "very happy" with the addition of two-Test Bok Hilton Lobberts.
The 27-year-old Lobberts, who played England at Twickenham in 2006 and New Zealand in Christchurch the next year, has just returned to South Africa from a nine-month stint in Italy.
"He looks in great shape," the Griquas coach said, adding: "I am looking forward to seeing him in action in the Currie Cup."
By Jan de Koning