Griquas don't rely on home comforts
INTERVIEW: Griquas will not rely on home ground advantage, but rather the quality of their game to secure them another Currie Cup upset over the Sharks.
Griquas will not rely on home ground advantage, but rather the quality of their game to secure them another Currie Cup upset over the Sharks.
The men from Kimberley will host their rivals from Durban in a first-round match on Saturday, as they look to build on the success of having re-qualified for South Africa's premier domestic competition.
New Griquas coach Hawies Fourie, speaking to rugby365 in the build-up to Saturday's showdown, said they are determined not to be involved in a promotion-relegation series again.
Griquas, who lost their Currie Cup status to the Pumas in a two-match series last year, was handed a lifeline when the South African Rugby Union expanded the competition from six to eight teams this year.
And they edged the Leopards by a solitary point to claim the vacant eighth spot, with the Eastern Province Kings having been confirmed as team No.7 earlier.
"The most important goal is to finish in the top six [of the Currie Cup competition], because we will avoid having to go through the qualifying process again next year," Fourie said.
"The second is to play in the semifinals," he said, adding: "We feel our team is good enough.
"Injuries will always play a major role at a [small] union like Griquas, but if we are fortunate with that [injuries] and play good rugby then we have a reasonable chance of doing it [reaching the play-offs]."
Griquas certainly have an interesting track record against the Sharks in Kimberley - having beaten them in three of their last visits, to go along with a Griquas win in Durban last year.
Fourie said that while there are good reasons why the Sharks struggle when making the trip to the capital of the Northern Cape Province.
"It is more a case of the Sharks that are not really comfortable with travelling to Kimberley," Fourie told rugby365 when asked about their record against the men from Durban.
"It is not an easy trip - they fly [from Durban] to Bloemfontein and then have to undertake a bus trip to Kimberley. The field is harder than what they are used to, the stands are smaller and there are not as many spectators.
"Those are factors that do have an effect their players."
However, they will not rely on these 'home comforts' to secure the win.
"We have said we are not going to target specific games or aim to just win home games," the Griquas coach said.
"We have set a goal of winning all our games," he said, adding: "We are certainly not focusing more on homes games than away games."
By Jan de Koning