Springbok and Vodacom Bulls prop Lizo Gqoboka is thrilled at the prospect of facing Griquas in Kimberley for the first time in his 10-year career.
Gqoboka is one of a few Bulls players who have seamlessly juggled focus between the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and Currie Cup over the past few weeks.
If he is part of the Bulls team that takes on Griquas in a Currie Cup fixture this weekend, it will be the first time in his 10-year career that the 31-year-old Springbok prop gets to play the Northern Cape side in their own backyard in Kimberley.
“It’s going to be my first time playing down there,” said an excited Gqoboka ahead of the Bulls’ trip to Kimberley on Saturday.
“You know, in my whole career, I’ve never played in Kimberley, for some weird reason. There has always been something that came up whenever I’m about to play there.
“So, if I play this weekend, it will be my first time. For me, it’s exciting. People always talk about how tough it is to play there, and those are the type of games you want to test yourself – in different conditions.”
Despite not having tasted the experience of playing in Kimberley, Gqoboka is familiar with the opposition for the weekend.
The hard-working tighthead prop expects a tough challenge from the Northern Cape side.
“The one thing about Griquas has always been their physicality, and they always fight right up until the end. We expect exactly that on the weekend,” he said.
“We have seen that their set piece is quite strong. Their scrum has been one of the most dominant in the competition – we are aware of that, and we are excited about the challenge.
“The main thing will be that we will need to front up physically. They have grown as a team in terms of their balance between the set piece and they also play with intensity. Their kicking game is also very good. So, it’s a good challenge.
“You can never play for 60 minutes and think you are done because they fight until the end. We’ve seen them beating so-called big teams down in Kimberley, and also winning away. It speaks to the quality of players that they have and the quality of their coaches. It’s really going to be a good game with lots of excitement.”
Gqoboka is one of the Bulls’ frontline players who has interchanged between the Currie Cup and URC effortlessly so far this season, and the Bok prop is relishing the opportunity.
“For us at the Bulls it is not that difficult [to juggle between the two competitions]. We have seen guys doubling up – Morne Steyn, Bismarck du Plessis, myself and others – we play Currie Cup on a Wednesday and URC on a Saturday. Because we have one squad everybody gets an opportunity for game time. If you are not playing in the URC, you do play in the Currie Cup,” he said.
The match between the Bulls and Griquas kicks off at 2.30pm on Saturday. Bulls’ Currie Cup head coach, Gert Smal, will announce his team for the fixture on Friday.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images