Griquas are on the right track

Gideon van der Merwe of the Tafel Lager Griquas during the SuperSport Rugby Challenge semi final match between Western Province and Tafel Lager Griquas at KaNyamazane Stadium on June 16 , 2019 in Nelspruit, South Africa. (Photo by Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images)

Gideon van der Merwe of the Tafel Lager Griquas during the SuperSport Rugby Challenge semi final match between Western Province and Tafel Lager Griquas at KaNyamazane Stadium on June 16 , 2019 in Nelspruit, South Africa. (Photo by Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images)

The real strength of Griquas’ recruitment lies in them tapping into the Varsity Cup.

I’ve always been fascinated by Griquas. Specifically, I’m intrigued as to why a coach/player would choose to live in Kimberley.

Yes, it sounds tacky, but we can’t deny that lifestyle plays a role in these individuals’ movements – it’s definitely cooler living in Cape Town or Durban than the Northern Cape.

Why then do the Peacock Blues look so competitive on paper in this year’s Currie Cup? The biggest reason is that the union continues to box smart in the market despite a tight economic climate.

For some, that creates the perception that Griquas feast on rejects.

That’s only partially the truth.

Men like Anthony Volmink, George Whitehead, Niell Jordaan and Sias Koen undoubtedly fall into that category.

The real strength of Griquas’ recruitment lies in them tapping into the Varsity Cup.

That may sound weird given how intricate the big unions’ relationships with universities like Maties, Tuks and UJ are, but there’s a difference.

Province and co tend to have dibs on the so-called hot shots, so obviously some gems will fall through the cracks.

And that’s where Griquas pounce.

While other coaches and the media complain over the lack of depth at lock nationwide, they have Johan Momsen, the accomplished Maties skipper and typical enforcer.

Teams like the Lions and Sharks tend to struggle to find physical blindside flankers when Cyle Brink and Jean-Luc du Preez aren’t around, yet Griquas boast a behemoth in NWU-Pukke’s Gideon van der Merwe.

Scrumhalf is a problem position in SA, yet the men from Kimberley boast a Junior Springbok and Shimla gem in 20-year-old Zak Burger.

These are all players from Varsity Cup teams that reached the semi-finals of this year’s tournament.

Meanwhile, Griquas also have a head coach in Brent Janse van Rensburg who’s rapidly raising his profile. He’s won the SuperSport Challenge in successive years with them and the Pumas.

Griquas won’t win the Currie Cup. But they lead the way in showing that you really need not panic in a difficult environment.

Heinz Schenk.

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