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Battered Griquas still have potential

Wed, 18 Sep 2013 14:49
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For Griquas to lose five locks make it very, very tough
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Griquas coach Pote Human has had to deal with the loss of his fifth lock of the season, not to mention a host of other injuries, but he remains a glass-half-full guy.

Plagued by injuries to key players, Human was forced to make a rash of changes ahead of their Currie Cup crunch encounter with Western Province at Newlands on Friday.

Jaco Nepgen has come in for injured the Victor Kruger at lock, after the latter fractured his leg against the Sharks last week.

Leon Karemaker is in at No.8 for Carel Greeff, who fractured his hand in the same game.

Gouws Prinsloo is at fullback in place of PJ Vermeulen, who suffered a horrendous ankle fracture against the Sharks in Kimberley last week.

Jean Stemmet is at centre in place of JP Nel, who has been ruled out with a knee injury sustained in the same match.

The final change sees Jacques Coetzee starting at scrumhalf ahead of Marnus Hugo, who is being rested this week.

Greeff, Vermeulen and Greeff are all sidelined for the rest of the season and joins an ever-growing injury list.

Greeff, who turned up for training on Monday, was not even aware he had a fractured hand until team management realised the guys saw there was something wrong with his hand and sent him for scabs, when they found out it was fractured.

"Carel [Greeff] is a huge setback," Human told this website, adding: "Not only was he [our] man of the match [against the Sharks], but he was one of the players who put up his hand this season.

"On the flipside, Leon Karemaker is now fully recovered after his injury lay-off and is hungry for some extended game time."

However, it is at lock where Griquas have been hardest hit.

Apart from Kruger, who was drafted in mid season after a rash of injuries, is the latest in a long list of players who fell foul of the Kimberley second row curse.

Add to that Jonathan Adendorff, who is lucky to be alive after being attacked by muggers after a game, Springbok Hilton Lobberts (fractured arm) and stalwart Rynhardt Landman, who at a push could return for the final week or two of action after he fractured his thumb in the first game against the Sharks in Durban.

As it is, Nepgen has just returned after he re-injured his shoulder against Western Province in Round Three.

Aussie import Rory Arnold also missed a week, after being accused of biting, only to be cleared and his ban to be lifted a week later.

"For a team like Griquas to lose five locks make it very, very tough," Human told this website.

"We went and fetched Victor Kruger at Pukke [Potchefstroom University] and he had two very good games for us and then fractured his leg. A guy like Hilton Lobberts, who was a real source of strength and physicality, fractured his arm. He showed he is back and ready to play rugby at the highest level again."

However, the Griquas mentor was not about to make any excuses.

"The guys who are here [in Kimberley] are still hungry and determined to make an impact for Griquas," he said.

"They have the potential to make an impact in the Currie Cup competition.

"All the unions are stretched in terms of their second row resources, so there aren't too many options."

Human said the outing would be a tough ask, in light of all the recent predicaments they had to face.

"It's never easy going to Newlands and we know that we are the underdogs for a victory. We have to be realistic and look at the coming promotion/relegation matches. If we can finish above the Blue Bulls on the points log, we will be safe from that."

Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Burger Schoeman, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Patrick O'Brien, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Richard Lawson.

Date: Friday, September 20
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Jonathan Kaplan, Marc van Zyl
TMO: Shaun Veldsman

By Jan de Koning

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