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ABSA Currie Cup2 Of the tournament’s pace-setters are going head-to-head on Saturday. But it is no ordinary match. It is the BIG north-south derby – the Vodacom Blue Bulls hosting DHL Western Province in the feature match of the weekend, when they meet in Pretoria on Saturday.

They are 2 of only 3 remaining unbeaten sides.

However, before we get there we have 2 Friday games – which will feature 3 teams still seeking their 1st win.

The winless Eastern Province Kings host an ambitious Steval Pumas team in Port Elizabeth, while the central unions partners (and rivals) ORC Griquas and Toyota Free State Cheetahs will meet in Kimberley.

Griquas and Cheetahs are also both still winless.

The Cell C Sharks, fresh from their 1st win of the season, host the high-flying Xerox Golden Lions in Saturday’s early match before we get to the BIG derby at Loftus Versfeld.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls are currently sitting at Top of the standings – as a result of their greater points difference over their Gauteng neighbours, the Xerox Golden Lions – with both on a full-house 10 Log points.

DHL Western Province are 1 Log point further back (9) in 3rd place.

The Cell C Sharks (5 points), Steval Pumas (4), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (1), EP Kings (1) and ORC Griquas (1) trail behind the pace-setters.

We look at all the Round 3 matches!

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Hilton Lobberts

Hilton Lobberts

Springbok lock Hilton Lobberts makes a welcome return for the ORC Griquas to face the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus on Friday.

The Blue Bulls are high on confidence after a convincing 57 / 19 win over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs last weekend.

Griquas have made a few changes to bolster the team for this week’s clash with the Blue Bulls. The most notable change is the return of Hilton Lobberts at blindside flank in place of Nardus van der Walt.

Stephan Kotze replaces Ewald van der Westhuizen at tighthead, while the latter takes his place on the bench.

Jonathan Adendorf has recovered from injury to replace Stephan Greeff in the 2nd row.

Jonathan Francke is another who returns from injury. He replaces Bok Sevens player Ruhan Nel at centre, with the later moving to right wing in place of Ederies Arendse.

Clinton Swart replaces Ngcobo Sandile on the bench.

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Ruhan Nel

Ruhan Nel

Sevens Springbok Ruhan Nel will make his debut for Griquas at centre, when they host DHL Western Province in the Currie Cup season-opener in Kimberley on Friday.

Nel, who mostly plays at wing or fullback in the 15-a-side game, has been named at No 13 after a raft of injuries depleted the ORC Griquas midfield resources.

He was released by the Blitzbokke to play for Griquas, having previously featured in the Currie Cup competition for the Golden Lions – before becoming a full-time member of the national Sevens squad.

Nel will partner another import, former Western Province midfielder Michael van der Spuy – who featured for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby this year.

Veteran utility back Riaan Viljoen, who returned to South Africa this year after 2 seasons in Japan, will make his 1st Currie Cup appearance for Griquas since 2011 when he runs out at flyhalf.

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ORC Griquas

The ORC Griquas secured their place in the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division with a hard-fought 41 / 21 victory over the SWD Eagles on Saturday in Kimberley in their final Qualifier match.

Griquas were made to work extremely hard for their win and the much-sought after 5 Log points as the Eagles went into the break with a 14 / 12 lead. The win secured them the Top spot on the Qualifier Log, 1 point ahead of the Leopards who won their final qualifying tie 33 / 8 against Border Bulldogs in East London.

Griquas will now play defending champions, the DHL Western Province, in Kimberley in the opening Round of the Premier Division on Friday 7 August. They recovered well from their 1st Round shock loss to the Bulldogs (20-13), winning their five remaining matches with a full house of points.

The Hino Valke turned in a strong 1st-half performance as they came out on top of the Down Touch Griffons in a high-scoring 57 / 41 (halftime 33 / 15) victory in their fixture at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park on Friday. The win allowed the Valke to jump into 3rd place. Boland (4th) finished their fixtures last weekend.

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ABSA Currie CupThe ORC Griquas have their ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division destiny in their own hands when they complete their Qualifier campaign this coming Saturday at home against the SWD Eagles. Kick-off is at 15:00 SA Time.

As things stand at the moment, the Kimberley rugby side must win with a bonus point to secure their return to the top flight. The Leopards are snapping at the heels of the current log leaders and they are just 1 point behind Griquas, who have collected 21 points from their previous 5 matches.

Apart from winning promotion to the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, the Qualifier winner will also have the honour of hosting defending champions DHL Western Province in the opening fixture on Friday 7 August.

SWD enjoyed a BYE last weekend and they will be fresh and eager to launch a massive challenge against the promotional hopefuls in Kimberley. However, Griquas have recovered well from their 1st Round loss to the Border Bulldogs and have since won all 4 matches to put them in pole position for promotion.

The Leopards travel to East London for their final qualifying fixture against the Border Bulldogs. After an impressive start to the campaign, which included that surprise win over Griquas, Border have unfortunately lost all their early momentum as a result of 3 successive defeats.

The East London outfit have been severely hit by injuries to key players and after suffering a 43 / 20 loss against the Down Touch Griffons last week in Kempton Park, the Bulldogs can brace themselves for another busy afternoon against the high-scoring Leopards.

The Leopards, also, have no choice but to hunt for a bonus point win. Their only hope of overhauling the leaders is a surprise win by the Eagles over the Griquas, which would be a shock considering the recent form of these 2 teams.

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ABSA Currie CupThe ORC Griquas maintained their slender 1 point lead in the ABSA Currie Cup qualifying race thanks to their 57 / 33 win over the Hino Valke in Kempton Park, Johannesburg on Saturday, while the Leopards stayed in the hunt by beating Boland Cavaliers 61 / 17 in Potchefstroom.

Heading into the final Round of matches next week, the Griquas and Leopards are the only teams in contention for the qualifying spot to the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division. Griquas are in front on 21 points, with the Leopards nipping at their heels on 20 points.

Down Touch Griffons put in a powerful 2nd half performance to beat the Border Bulldogs 43 / 20 despite trailing by 5 points at the break.  The win lifted the Griffons from the basement to 4th on the log while SWD Eagles, who were not in action over the weekend, slipped to last place.

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ABSA Currie CupThe ORC Griquas consolidated their position at the Top of the ABSA Currie Cup Qualifier log with a 7-try 47 / 20 win over the Down Touch Griffons at Griquas Park in Kimberley on Saturday. They now have a 6-point cushion over the Leopards (10 points), who had a BYE this weekend.

Griquas scored 6 tries in the 2ndnd half to easily overcome the visitors and increase their log points to 16 after 4 games in the race for promotion to the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

In the 2 matches played on Friday night, the Hino Valke caused an upset when they scraped to a 13 / 12 win over the Border Bulldogs, down to 13 men at one stage, to hand the East London side their 1st defeat of the campaign.

At Outeniqua Park in George the Boland Cavaliers kicked a last minute penalty to force a 28 / 28 draw against SWD Eagles. Despite collecting 2 points, the Eagles remain anchored at the foot of the table and are winless after 4 games.

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ABSA Currie CupThe ORC Griquas ran in 8 tries to beat Leopards 48 / 21 on Saturday in their ABSA Currie Cup qualifier at Profert Olën Park in Potchefstroom. The result moved the Kimberley side to the Top team on the Log standings with 11 point from 3 matches.

The Leopards, who have occupied the Top spot the previous 2 weeks thanks to 2 bonus point wins, slipped down to 2nd while the Border Bulldogs jumped to 3rd following their 2nd win of the campaign.

Border made it 2 from 2 with a 22 / 15 victory over the Boland Cavaliers at the Boland Stadium in Wellington, following their 20 / 13 win over ORC Griquas in East London 3 weeks ago. In the remaining clash the Hino Valke scored 3 tries to register their 1st win in 2 attempts. They beat the SWD Eagles 22 / 15 at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park. The SWD Eagles, meanwhile, are winless after 3 outings.

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ABSA Currie CupThe 2 early pacesetters in the race for the vital Currie Cup Qualifier top spot, the Leopards and ORC Griquas, will meet on Saturday at Profert Olën Park in Potchefstroom in 1 of the main matches this weekend.

The Leopards are at top of the standings after collecting 10 points from 2 bonus-point wins. Last weekend they were in fine form in their clash against the Hino Valke and dominated proceedings to secure a 53 / 7 victory at home.

The men from Kimberley, on the other hand, scored a bonus-point win over the Boland Cavaliers to shoot up to 2nd place on the standings.

The Leopards have shown a healthy appetite so far this season to run with the ball and the rewards have followed. However, the Potchefstroom team will again be looking to their pack to provide a good platform so that they can bring their speedy backline into play. In-form wing Adri Jacobs is their danger man out wide with 2 hat-tricks already under his belt in the campaign.

After suffering a defeat in Round 1, Griquas bounced back to form to beat Boland 48 / 17 in Kimberley last week. Much will depend on the form of their No 8 Carel Greeff, who scored 4 tries against the Bolanders last week.

In the other 14:30 SA Time encounter on Saturday at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, hosts the Hino Valke entertain the SWD Eagles.

Both teams will be eager to find their rhythm after losing last weekend and since they have both yet to win a match, which could result in a hard-fought encounter.

In the other match-up, the Boland Cavaliers play host to the Border Bulldogs in Wellington. The East London team secured a surprise 1st-round win over Griquas 2 weeks ago and after their BYE of last weekend, they will be keen to maintain their good start to the qualifying campaign.

The Down Touch Griffons have a BYE this weekend.

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ABSA Currie CupIt was a weekend of home wins in the Currie Cup Qualifiers as the Down Touch Griffons, ORC Griquas and the Leopards came out tops in their respective matches.

The Griffons pipped the SWD Eagles 25 / 21 in a nail-biting encounter at HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom, while Griquas defeated the Boland Cavaliers 48 / 17 at Griquas Park and the Leopards smashed the Hino Valke 53 / 7 at Profert Olen Park in Potchefstroom.

The Leopards’ victory marked their 2nd successive bonus-point win and earned them the status as the only unbeaten team in the competition after 2 Rounds.

The Potchefstroom team is now 4 points ahead of the Griquas at the top of the log table with 10 points.

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Maks van Dyk

Maks van Dyk

Tighthead prop Maks van Dyk has completed his move to the EP Kings, where he hopes to make an impact in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby.

Van Dyk has been based at Griquas since last year, which saw him play Super Rugby for the Cheetahs in 2014 and 2015.

It’s been a notable rise for the former Junior Springbok front-rower, who was part of the South African squad that lifted the Under 20 World Championship trophy at Newlands in 2012.

From Durban (where he was based at the Sharks between 2011 and 2013) to Kimberley to Bloemfontein, the 23-year-old has a new home in Port Elizabeth, where he has signed a 2-year contract with the Kings.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Leopards and Boland Cavaliers took an early lead in the ABSA Currie Cup Qualifiers this weekend as they both secured bonus-point victories in the opening round.

The Qualifiers features 7 teams battling it out for the last remaining spot in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division. The remaining 6 teams will participate in the ABSA Currie Cup First Division.

The Leopards defeated the SWD Eagles 45 / 17 at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday thanks to an impressive 6 tries, while the Boland Cavaliers were guaranteed of their bonus-point for 4 tries in the 1st half against the Down Touch Griffons on Saturday, which set them up for a 32 / 22 victory in Malmesbury.

In the other match the Border Bulldogs surprised the ORC Griquas with a 20 / 13 victory at the BCM stadium in East London following a closely contested 1st half.

The Hino Valke, meanwhile, had a BYE.

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ABSA Currie CupThe battle for the last available position in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division will begin on Friday as 6 of the 7 teams participating in the in the ABSA Currie Cup Qualifiers go-head to-head over the weekend.

The top team on the Log table at the end of the Qualifiers, which feature 7 Rounds of matches, will gain automatic entry into the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, while the remaining 6 teams will battle it out in the ABSA Currie Cup First Division.

It will be between GWK Griquas, who participated in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division last season, the Down Touch Griffons, champions of the First Division in 2014, as well as the Boland Cavaliers, Border Bulldogs, Leopards, SWD Eagles and the Hino Valke in the competition.

In Friday’s opening matches, the SWD Eagles will host the Leopards at Outeniqua Park in George and Border takes on GWK Griquas at the BCM Stadium in East London. In the only match on Saturday, Boland meet the Down Touch Griffons at the Malmesbury Sports Grounds.

The clash between the SWD Eagles and Leopards is expected to be tight as the teams were closely matched in terms of their attack in the recent Vodacom Cup competition. SWD, however, are expected to bank on their more effective defence as 1 of the areas which could give them an edge.

GWK Griquas, meanwhile, will enter their clash against Border as favourites after showing good form in the 1st half of the season. They will also draw on their experience gained in last year’s ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division as they look to make their presence felt. Border, however, will enter the match with confidence after registering a morale-boosting victory against Boland in their final Vodacom Cup match.

In Malmesbury the battle between Boland and the Down Touch Griffons could also come down to the wire as both teams look to make up for their slow start to the season. The visitors, in particular, will be inspired by their successful ABSA Currie Cup First Division season last year, but they may have to work hard for an invaluable away-win.

The Hino Valke, meanwhile, have a bye.

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Dean Grant

Dean Grant

Flyhalf Dean Grant is the latest South African to secure a move to play club rugby in France, having been released from his contract at Griquas.

Dean’s main focus this year was on balancing his professional rugby career in Kimberley and completing his Honours in B.Com Investments at the University of Cape Town.

6 Months later, and Grant can celebrate his impressive qualification, and a new chapter in his rugby career.

After spending the past 2 seasons in Kimberley, the 26-year-old has secured a deal with French club Chambery, based in the south-eastern region of France.

Chambery play in Federale 1 (3rd Division), having nearly qualified for the Pro D2 during the 2014 / 2015 season.

“I want to thank Griquas for accommodating my career over the past 2 years by allowing me to balance my studies and my rugby commitments,” said Grant.

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Hawies Fourie

Hawies Fourie

Andre Markgraaff

Andre Markgraaff

Hawies Fourie has been appointed as the new head coach of Maties, Stellenbosch University’s 1st rugby team. Fourie will start in his new role on 1 November this year.

He is the current head coach of GWK Griquas and also served as backline coach to the Toyota Cheetahs in Super Rugby.

Fourie will replace Chris Rossouw as head coach, with the latter remaining part of the coaching team.

After winning the 1st 3 editions of the Varsity Cup (2008, 2009 and 2010), Maties have struggled to stamp their authority on the competition in recent years, and Fourie’s job will be to make them a powerhouse once more.

Former Springbok coach Andre Markgraaff has been appointed in an advisory capacity at the Maties Rugby Club. Part of Markgraaff’s roles will be to look after coaching, player development and recruitment.

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Vodacom CupThere were tries aplenty as the Vodacom Cup moved up a gear with the quarter-finals moving into sight for the 16 teams vying for the title.

In the South Section, the SWD Eagles probably delivered the biggest upset as they outplayed the Cell C Sharks XV in George on Friday evening, winning comfortably by 36 / 13 after a superb 2nd half performance where they scored 29 unanswered points.

GWK Griquas showed they will not let go of their title without a proper fight as they completely outclassed the Boland Cavaliers by 62 / 19 in Velddrif on Saturday afternoon, while the Toyota Free State XV beat the EP Kings by 50 / 45 in an extraordinary match in Bloemfontein where the scorers with still tied at 42 / 42 with only 5 minutes remaining on the clock.

DHL Western Province were predictably too strong for the Border Bulldogs as they cemented their position at the top of the South Section log with a 34 / 6 win on Saturday afternoon.

In the North Section, last weekend’s log leaders, the Xerox Golden Lions, enjoyed a BYE and was overtaken at the top of the standings by the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who beat the Down Touch Griffons by 40 / 21 in Pretoria on Friday afternoon.

The Steval Pumas’ 31 / 23 victory over the Leopards XV in Potchefstroom on Friday means the race to the top of the North Section log is now effectively between 3 teams.

The FNB Welwitschias recorded their 1st win of the season when they beat the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls by 24 / 17 in Windhoek on Saturday afternoon.

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Carel Greeff

Carel Greeff

The Toyota Cheetahs have called up loose forward Carel Greeff as they prepare for their Super Rugby tour match against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.

Greeff, who played for Griquas in the Vodacom Cup at the weekend, will replace Jean Cook.

Cook injured his groin in the warm-up prior to last weekend’s 37 / 27 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.

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Stephan Coetzee

Stephan Coetzee

Michael van der Spuy

Michael van der Spuy

Griquas have secured the services of two promising Western Province players for next season.

Centre Michael van der Spuy and hooker Stephan Coetzee – who both showed promise for WP this season – have signed with Griquas until the end of the 2015 season.

It will also be a boost for the men from Kimberley who recently lost the services of hooker Ryno Barnes (Free State) and centres Howards Mnisi (Lions) and Doppies la Grange (retirement).

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Doppies la Grange

Gideon “Doppies” la Grange has brought the curtain down on his career after a short return stint in the Currie Cup for the Griquas.

The 32-year-old returned to South Africa via Kimberley after playing in Italy for Benetton Treviso in 2013 where he only made nine appearances.

La Grange states the reason for his retirement is that his body was sending him signals.

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Currie CupDHL Western Province will host the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Cape Town and the Xerox Golden Lions will face the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division semifinals next weekend.

Log-leaders DHL Western Province were assured of their home semifinal and the top spot on the log before entering the final round of pool matches this weekend, while the Xerox Golden Lions sealed their home semifinal by thumping the Toyota Free State Cheetahs. The victory for the Johannesburg team was enough to cancel out any efforts by the Cell C Sharks for the second spot on the log.

In the weekend’s matches, the EP Kings registered their first victory of the season as they pipped the Steval Pumas 26-25 in Port Elizabeth, while the Xerox Golden Lions thumped the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 47-7 at Ellis Park, the Cell C Sharks defeated DHL Western Province 28-20 in Cape Town and the Vodacom Blue Bulls beat GWK Griquas 46-12 in Pretoria.

The Xerox Golden Lions will meet the Cell C Sharks in the first semifinal on Saturday, October 18, at 14:30 SA Time and DHL Western Province will go up against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at 17:00 SA Time.

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GWK GriquasA host of injuries has forced Griquas coach Hawies Fourie to select players out of position ahead of their final round-robin Currie Cup fixture against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

“Injuries have plagued us this year,” Fourie said.

“It is a problem with which any union struggles, but we’ve gotten the short end of the stick this year. It makes preparations very difficult and it disrupts any momentum we might have had.”

Locks Hilton Lobberts and Boela Serfontein, prop Steph Roberts, flank Carel Greeff and captain Wayne Stevens have all been ruled out with injuries.

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SuperBruExciting times ahead with only one more weekend of Rugby Championship matches to go.

Dead rubber or not, it’s the Springboks versus the All Blacks, so it will still be a cracker of a match, with Heyneke looking for that elusive first win over the men in black as coach of the Boks.

The Currie Cup is nearing the end of the regular rounds, and it’s only DHL WP and the Golden Lions that can feel certain that they will make the Top 4.

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ABSA Currie CupIt was a weekend of bonus-point victories in the ABSA Currie Cup as all the winning sides, except for the Vodacom Blue Bulls, bagged 5 Log points from their matches to maintain comfortable log positions with an eye on the playoff stages.

In Friday’s matches DHL Western Province defeated the Steval Pumas 37-23 in Nelspruit and the Vodacom Blue Bulls beat the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 31-22 in Bloemfontein. On Saturday the Cell C Sharks thumped the EP Kings 53-24 in Durban and the Xerox Golden Lions registered a convincing 46-8 victory against GWK Griquas in Kimberley.

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ABSA Currie CupAs anticipated, DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions confirmed their positions at the top of the Absa Currie Cup log with bonus point home wins over the weekend, but they may have reason now to be looking nervously over their shoulders.

The Cell C Sharks have looked woeful for most of the season and until the second half against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 days again, they just weren’t converting their line breaks or stringing phases together.

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DHL WPGWK GriquasWP (24) 36 / 12 (0) Griquas (Final Score)

DHL Western Province and GWK Griquas did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division at

Newlands, Cape Town at 15:00 SA Time (13:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

(Take Note: There will be no LIVE GAME ARTICLE for the EP Kings / Toyota Free State Cheetahs match, as it also takes place at the same time as this game)


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Jimmy Stonehouse

Unhappy camper: Jimmy Stonehouse

Steval Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse has blasted his team after their 31-27 loss to GWK Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.

The website reports, Stonehouse didn’t hold back as he said his team’s performance was nowhere near their normal standards and that he expected an improvement this weekend as they head to Ellis Park to face the Xerox Golden Lions in their next Absa Currie Cup match.

“I think it was the worst performance we have given in the history of Puma rugby,” Stonehouse said.

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SuperBruRound 3 of the Rugby Championship ended in heartbreak for the Springboks when they went down to Australia by 1 point in the final few minutes of what was not an entertaining match at all.

The referee, the yellow card to Bryan Habana, the failed touchfinder by Morné Steyn and various other reasons have already been dissected and discussed, so we won’t dwell on those.

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GWK Griquas

Griqua players celebrate their first win of the Currie Cup.

The mini-slump being experienced by the defending champions, the Sharks, is a key feature of the Currie Cup at its midway point in league play.

Two losses on the trot – after a three-match winning start that hadn’t produced much champagne rugby and was already delivering certain warning signs – have left the Durban-based side with an increasingly precarious hold on a “semi-final” slot.

They lie fourth on the overall table and with an awful lot of work to do in the second half of their ordinary-season roster if they are to recover enough ground to challenge for rights to a possible home final – perhaps simply making sure they actually get into the last four must be a shorter-term, lesser objective now.

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  • CoachPete 30 Aug 2015, 22:15 SAST - Hi GBS Piet and others Yeah doing fine thanks. How are you and all the regulars doing? Only problem is...
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