Hooker Andre-Hugo Venter and stand-in coach Labeeb Levy are aware of the challenges that Western Province will face against the Griffons in Welkom on Friday.
WP scored seven tries in a 47-28 victory over the Griffons in Cape Town earlier this season in the Currie Cup, but despite the bonus-point win, the Capetonians are taking nothing for granted.
Province is fifth on the log, while the Griffons are rooted to the foot of the table and struggling to stay afloat. However, with the Griffons’ dramatic home victory over the Vodacom Bulls in round 4, WP cannot afford to underestimate their opponents.
Speaking in a WP media conference on Tuesday, Venter emphasised the difficulties of playing in the northern Free State: “Going to Welkom and playing in that stadium is not an easy task, you play the Griffons somewhere else, and it might be easier.
“Going to Welkom, though, it’s like playing Griquas in Kimberley. It’s tough, that field is hard, it’s a tough crowd, and I don’t know why, but for some reason, they are just a tougher side in Welkom.”
Venter also highlighted the importance of breaking the Griffons’ momentum, adding: “For us to get good momentum, we have to break their momentum.”
With only one win from nine matches in the competition, the Griffons are rooted to the foot of the table and will be fighting hard to secure a victory. Levy, though, echoed Venter’s sentiments, acknowledging the minnows’ style of play and their ability to fight until the end.
“They don’t necessarily go away. They have a certain style that they’re playing – hard up the middle. Their 10 [Robbie Petzer] is a threat, and their 12 [Marquit September] scored two tries against us, and he could’ve probably scored four,” he said.
“For a lot of the youngsters [in the WP squad] – a number of them come from big schools into Craven Week and into SA U20.. They don’t play club rugby, they don’t play against Tygerberg, against False Bay, where they get the hardebaard, onbeskoftigheid, in-your-face-type rugby.
“The Welkom experience is going to be good for them, it’s a different vibe… We’re gonna get a bit of Cape Flats in your face in Welkom.”
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