Despite their winning streak after three games, PE SAPS are preparing for a serious onslaught when they take on old rivals Park in the EP Grand Challenge at Londt Park this Saturday, 9 May.
SAPS president Danie Gouws left no doubt of the respect they have for Park as he looked ahead to the next challenge for EP’s Community Cup representatives.
“We are really keen to do well in the Grand Challenge this season and would like to challenge Despatch,” he said on Thursday. “But we know that Park will be an extremely tough encounter and we have great respect for them so this game will certainly not be easy.”
Gouws said they had put a lot of hard work into their rugby in recent years and this is clearly beginning to pay dividends.
“We have a well-oiled machine at the moment, with a lot of experienced players so the season has gone well so far,” he said.
SAPS, however, are missing four first-choice players for this match so there will be no easy pickings at Londt Park. The home side have only played two games, winning one and losing the other, and they will be looking for a major team effort to upset a motivated SAPS outfit.
Meanwhile, Kruisfontein will become the next side to try to derail a rampant Despatch outfit as the Grand Challenge gets back into full swing after a shortened programme last weekend.
While most of the teams took a break over the long weekend, Despatch continued their winning streak by proving too powerful for the NMMU Madibaz, running in eight tries in the clash at the WJ de Wet Stadium for a 60-17 win.
This is the strongest indication yet that Despatch are in no mood to let anybody prevent them from claiming another Grand Challenge title and it is difficult to see Kruisfontein changing that pattern on Saturday.
However, the Kruisfontein outfit can be a tough combination on their home turf and this is the one factor they will be banking on to disrupt Despatch’s progress. For their part, despite their dominance, the visitors cannot let complacency slip into their camp and if they remain diligent in their allround play, they should make it five wins in a row.
After a slow start, Harlequins gave themselves a lift with a good win over the Madibaz and they will be looking to build on that against Windvogel at the Adcock Stadium.
Despite three losses so far, newcomers Windvogel have put in some spirited performances this season and while Quins will start as strong favourites, they cannot take their opponents lightly.
After two losses in a row, the Madibaz will be trying to pick up the pieces against the Brumbies in Grahamstown, while Crusaders will have their work cut out against Spring Rose in New Brighton.
Following their win over Windvogel, Trying Stars will be looking to make it two in a row when they host Progress in Alexandria.
The fixtures are (3.30pm kick-off): Brumbies v NMMU at Grahamstown Oval, Park v SAPS at Londt Park, Harlequins v Windvogel at Adcock Stadium, Trying Stars v Progress at Alexandria, Kruisfontein v Despatch at Country Club, Spring Rose v Crusaders at New Brighton Oval.
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