Super Rugby Unlocked: Griquas name team for first match against Bulls

George Whitehead will lead Griquas in their first Super Rugby Unlocked appearance against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday 10 October.

Whitehead commands a side with plenty of Currie Cup experience, and Griquas should be confident of pushing the established Super Rugby franchises to the limit in this tournament after great displays last season.

Whitehead to press Springbok claim

The Griquas skipper could just force his way into contention for a place in the Springbok lineup after some unconvincing displays at flyhalf from the Stormers Damian Willemse and the Sharks Curwin Bosch.

Coach Scott Mathie has provisionally named an extended 11-man bench, with three players set to be omitted on game day as teams are only allowed to play with squads of 23.

Mathie is hopeful of going to fortress Loftus and again coming away with the spoils.

“[The Bulls] are obviously an elite, star-studded team,” Mathie told IOL. 

“If you just look at the wage comparison of what we can spend and what they can spend. . . it’s David versus Goliath on the weekend.

“But we go there confidently. We had a good win there last year, albeit against a team with no Springboks in it, which is a big difference. But we’ve been up there and performed well before, and are confident in our squad. This Griquas team is wired to compete: that’s what we’re about. It’s just great to pit your team against the best.”

Griquas have recruited former Springbok wing Bjorn Basson and promising hooker Alandre van Rooyen from the liquidated Southern Kings.

The men from Kimberley will want to continue their recent form against the Bulls having beaten them in their last meeting at Loftus. 

Griquas are set to become the ninth South African team to contest a Super Rugby game; 12 of the 18 teams to have faced the Bulls in the competition have lost to the Pretoria side in their first-ever encounter.

The Griquas struck 87% of their total goal kicks successfully in the 2019 Currie Cup, the highest success rate of any team in the competition; on average they were the only team to miss fewer than one goal per game for the season.

Griquas Super Rugby Unlocked matchday squad

15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 George Whitehead (c), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Carl Els, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 HJ Luus, 1 Mox Mxoli.

Subs: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Bandisa Ndlovu, 18 Madot Mabokela, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Zandre Jordaan, 21 Gideon van der Merwe, 22 Ashlon Davids, 23 Berton Klaasen, 24 Mzwanele Zito, 25 Johan Momsen, 26 Bjorn Basson

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