Griquas supporters are optimistic that Kimberley will be home to the Carling Currie Cup for the next 12 months.
The Peacocks last won the coveted trophy in 1970 while the men from Mbombela will play in their first final.
It was in 1970 when the likes of Mannetjies Roux and Tos Smith, amongst others secured the Currie Cup for the Griquas. Flanker, Peet Smith, slotted a late penalty for a nail-biting 11-9 over the mighty Northern Transvaal at the De Beers Stadium in Kimberley.
The next 52 years were a dry spell for the men from Kimberley. But courtesy of another upset win over the men from Pretoria in last week’s semi-final, the Currie Cup could just make Kimberley its home again.
“Obviously, we are proud of the players, the coaches and management, everyone who has anything to do with Griquas. We are all immensely proud of each other and hopefully, the team will bring the cup home,” says Arni Van Rooyen, Griquas CEO.
In 2014, Pieter Bergh was appointed assistant coach of the Griquas. Last year he took over the reins. With perseverance and the assistance of management, assistant coaches and of course, the players, they managed to secure this final.
“You obviously learn a lot of things as assistant coach and when you come back you learn what worked in the past and you try and get your own recipe together and stuff you believe in and your philosophy. At the end of the day, you need to get the right people behind you. I think my management team is brilliant at what they do,” says Pieter Bergh, Griquas head coach.
The team beat the Blue Bulls 30-19 at Loftus Versfeld last Friday and their next aim is a third successive victory over the Pumas this season.
“It’s difficult to think about it at the beginning of the season. Just looking back at all the years we played the semi-finals and it’s a dream come true. The guys are really excited. It’s going to be a nice atmosphere at the stadium and we look forward to it,” says Rynhardt Jonker, Griquas centre.
“I can’t…for Saturday and do what we’ve been doing week in and out. It’s just awesome for me playing rugby with a bunch of gents that are so humble and super excited to be with each other,” says Eddie Davids, Griquas prop.
Staff say it’s all systems go as they prepare for the historic occasion. Ticket sales opened on Tuesday morning and tickets were sold out within hours. The final will be played before a 50 % capacity crowd. Although the team anticipates a tough encounter, the supporters are optimistic.
“To see that they can win it for a second time in 52 years, so we look forward and hopefully we can pull it through,” says Jobo De Villiers, Griquas supporter.
“It is such a great feeling after such a long time, the Griquas end up coming head-on with the Pumas. I will encourage all rugby-lovers to come and watch the historical moment,” says Bakang Maabelo, Griquas supporter.
“It’s ecstatic to be precise. With everything that has happened with Covid in the three years, it has kind of messed up a lot of the things,” says Charity Seiso, Griquas supporter.
Although eight players are injured, no major changes are expected to the Griquas match-day squad.
With the four bigger unions out of the Currie cup final, the cup lies now in the hands of the two so-called underdogs. Will the cup stay in Kimberley where the Griquas last won in 1970 or will it be a first win for the Pumas, taking the cup to Mbombela? We’ll all wait with bated breath when the game kicks off on Saturday at 3pm.