Currie Cup: Griquas name twin playmakers to unlock Bulls' rush defence

Enver Brandt has "got some gas ... it's nice to have another x-factor outside," says Griquas captain and outside centre Kyle Steyn. Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

The Griquas will make a welcome return home to Kimberley as they look to register their first win of the 2018 Currie Cup season when they take on the Blue Bulls in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon.

After consecutive losses away to the Pumas (42-19) and the Golden Lions (62-41) in the opening two rounds of the competition, Griquas captain and outside centre Kyle Steyn says homeground advantage "will make a big difference".

"Just the routine of being back at home will definitely do us a lot of good, especially mentally." Steyn told KweseESPN.

"We've got two games at home in a row, so hopefully we can build some momentum at home before our last two games against Western Province and the Sharks -- who are looking like the two strongest game at the moment."

The Griquas are coming off a bye week, and they have used the extra time to rectify some of the weaknesses identified in their opening losses.

Most notably, they have worked on their fitness.

"We've tried to get a little bit of conditioning in." Steyn said.

"Our second half has let us down a lot, so we got some high-intensity sessions under the belt to try make sure we can put in a more consistent, 80-minute performance.

"And other than that, just a lot of set-piece work."

Steyn felt that his team focused too much on achieving results in their opening two matches - "especially the Lions game" -- rather than focusing on the game itself and the task at hand.

"So, we're just focusing on the Bulls for now," the captain said.

The Griquas aren't alone in feeling the pressure in Kimberley, as the Blue Bulls are also coming off consecutive losses -- to the Sharks (26-10) and the Lions (35-38) respectively.

"I know that they are also under a lot of pressure, probably more so than us, because they are expected to make a semi or a final," Steyn said of the Blue Bulls.

"So, we feel that if we get off to a good start, then hopefully we can build on that pressure."

Steyn is expecting to Blue Bulls to produce a physical onslaught from kick-off, but he said his forwards were prepared.

"[The forwards] have had two hard weeks.

"They've put in a massive effort, to their credit. I've got to back the boys and I'm confident that they're ready to do the job at home."

The hosts have made a few changes to their line-up to face the Pretoria-based team, the most notable change being the return of winger Enver Brandt, whom Steyn said would add flair to the team

"He's got some gas, so it's nice to have another x-factor outside."

Brandt will be particularly well prepared after he was ready to play before the Lions hosted the Griquas in week two, but was lacking fitness.

A.J. Coertzen, meanwhile, returns to the No. 15 jersey and Steyn hopes that he and fly-half George Whitehead will operate well together as twin playmakers.

"[Coertzen] is another playmaker, so it's nice to have a 10-15 combination like that."

Steyn said the extra playmaking option would be particularly useful in countering the Bulls' "massive rush defence".

"We know that's coming, so we have been practising to adapt to that."


Friday, 07 September

Sharks vs. Pumas 19:00

Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, Kobus van Wyk, Jeremy Ward, Marius Louw, Lwazi Mvovo, Robert du Preez, Louis Schreuder, Daniel du Preez, Tyler Paul, Luke Stringer, Hyron Andrews, Gideon Koegelenberg, John-Hubert Meyer, Chiliboy Ralepelle (c), Juan Schoeman.
Substitutes: Akker van der Merwe, Khutha Mchunu, Andrew Evans, Wian Vosloo, Cameron Wright, Johan Deysel, Curwin Bosch.

Pumas: Gerrit Smith, Niel Maritz, Ryan Nell, Hennie Skorbinski, Ruwellyn Isbell, Christopher Smith, Stefan Ungerer, Willie Engelbrecht, Stefan Willemse, Marnus Schoeman, Hugo Kloppers, Le Roux Roets, Marné Coetzee, Marko Janse van Rensburg, Khwezi Mona.
Substitutes: Frankie Herne, Andrew Beerwinkel, Cameron Lindsay, Francois Kleinhans, Jeandré Rudolph, Reynier van Rooyen, Trompie Pretorius.

Saturday, 08 September

Griquas vs. Blue Bulls 14:15

Griquas: AJ Coertzen, Ederies Arendse, Kyle Steyn (c), André Swarts, Enver Brandt, George Whitehead, Christiaan Meyer, Conway Pretorius, Sias Koen, Eital Bredenkamp, Pieter Jansen van Vuren, Sintu Manjezi, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Khwezi Mkhafu, Devon Martinus
Substitutes: Wilmar Arnoldi, Ruan Kamer, Wandile Putuma, Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, Zak Burger, Christopher Bosch, Tythan Adams.

Blue Bulls: Divan Rossouw, Jade Stighling, Franco Naude, JT Jackson, Duncan Matthews, Manie Libbok, André Warner, Hanro Liebenberg (c), Jano Venter, Ruan Steenkamp, Eli Snyman, Hendré Stassen, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Matthys Basson.
Substitutes: Edgar Marutlulle, Conrad van Vuuren, Ruan Nortje, Thembelani Bholi, Ivan van Zyl, Tinus de Beer, Dylan Sage.

Golden Lions vs. Free State Cheetahs 16:20

Golden Lions: Sylvian Mahuza, Madosh Tambwe, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Courtnall Skosan, Shaun Reynolds, Dillon Smit, Hacjivah Dayimani, Len Massyn, James Venter, Marvin Orie (c), Rhyno Herbst, Jacobie Adriaanse, Pieter Jansen, Sti Sithole.
Substitutes: Corné Fourie, Danie Mienie, Stephen Bhasera, Reinhard Nothnagel, Vincent Tshituka, Bradley Thain, Wandisile Simelane.

Free State Cheetahs: Adriaan Carelse, Ali Mgijima, Carel-Jan Coetzee, Tertius Kruger, Lloyd Greeff, Louis Fouce, Rudy Paige (c), Niell Jordaan, Stephan Malan, Abongile Nonkontwana, Dennis Visser, Louis Conradie, Gunther Janse van Vuuren, Reinach Venter, Kevin Stevens.
Substitutes: Jannes Snyman, Johan Kotze, Luigi van Jaarsveld, Nardus Erasmus, Dian Badenhorst, Vuyani Maqina, Reinhart Erwee.