Currie Cup

Griquas bemoan Currie Cup scheduling after 21-day fixture break: 'It's very difficult'

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Rynhardt Jonker has been excellent on loan from the Sharks. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)
Rynhardt Jonker has been excellent on loan from the Sharks. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)
  • Griquas will have gone an astonishing 21 days since last playing a Currie Cup fixture this weekend and it's proving a major challenge.
  • Backs coach Brendell Brandt admits such scheduling has played havoc with match fitness and take a mental toll too.
  • But with a semi-final spot still a distinct possibility, there's no use crying over spilled milk against a rampant Cheetahs.

21 days.

That's the staggering number of days Griquas would've gone without playing a Currie Cup fixture this weekend as the non-URC sides battle inactivity due to SA Rugby's challenge of juggling two concurrent tournaments.

The Peacock Blues are hardly the only victims in this regard as the high-flying Cheetahs - unbeaten to date and their opponents on Saturday - at one stage played one match in seven weeks during the current campaign.

As a result, continuity has been rare.

"It's not only about the game preparation, it’s about the mental aspect as well," said Brendell Brandt, Griquas' backline coach and former Bulls winger.

"Unfortunately, we don’t have an additional competition to give those fringe players game time – we are in the same boat as Cheetahs – and it's very difficult, especially for a team like us."

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A match against the Junior Springboks was arranged last week to compensate for a loss of match fitness, an assignment Brandt admitted proved useful, but still isn't sufficient to keep intensity in tip-top shape.

"We try to keep the players busy and retain match fitness with contact sessions," said Brandt."We played a friendly against the national Under-20s in an effort to replicate match intensity. However, it's very difficult."

All told, there's no use crying over spilled milk as Griquas remain in the hunt for a semi-final spot. They also have to contend with somehow stopping their rampant neighbours.

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Keeping the evergreen duo of Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar at bay is a priority.

"Obviously we need to respect those two men. But when you run onto the field, there's no fear. We've assembled an exciting backline and our big theme this year is 'believing'," said Brandt.

"In fact, it's a good week for us to live out of overall motto of 'respect everybody, but fear none'. We've done our homework on our opponents and we're really confident our young backs can stamp their authority."

Kickoff in Kimberley is at 14:30.

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