Move over Liverpool! Griquas’ ‘mentality monsters’ are roaring for the Currie Cup climax

Move over Liverpool! Griquas' 'mentality monsters' are roaring for the Currie Cup climax
Move over Liverpool! Griquas' 'mentality monsters' are roaring for the Currie Cup climax

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Move over, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.

There are new “mentality monsters” in town, specifically in sleepy Kimberley.

Griquas mentor Pieter Bergh made the memorable comparison while describing his gifted young decision-makers in a backline that’s become increasingly authoritative and potent ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup final against the Pumas.

“Mentality monsters” refers to a term coined by the Reds’ charismatic manager to illustrate how his carefully crafted team went from proverbial bridesmaids to an outfit of serial winners – 5 major trophies in 4 seasons – by developing the type of mental steeliness that ruthlessly turned those disappointments into catalysts for success.

The cornerstone for being a “mentality monster” is unwavering self-belief, and Bergh believes his band of rookies in Johan Mulder (scrumhalf), Zander du Plessis (flyhalf) and the midfield pairing of Rynhardt Jonker and Sango Xamlashe have that by the bucketsful.

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“I call those four players my ‘mentality monsters’,” said the Peacock Blues’ head coach.

“They just have so much belief in themselves. For example, when we broke the Cheetahs’ unbeaten run [by virtue of a brilliant 46-18 win a few weeks back], we had Johan lining up against Ruan Pienaar. We had Zander fronting up to Frans Steyn.

“We backed those young guys and they stepped up to the challenge and performed against opponents of that experience, two World Cup winners. They outplayed and outclassed them that day.”

Given how Griquas went on a stellar run of form after that central derby win that catapulted them into their first domestic final since 1970, it’s safe to say the “monsters” have been roaring.

“That just shows what these young guys can do. They truly believe they can win anything on any day,” said Bergh.

“That’s why I have full faith in them. I don’t believe they’ll be fazed by the moment and occasion. They will pitch up.”

Unsurprisingly for a young man of Xamlashe’s precociousness, Griquas’ skipper for the showpiece – he’s deputising for the injured Niel Otto – has flourished in such an environment.

“It’s an environment where you learn a lot quicker,” said the former Varsity Cup-winning leader and outside centre.

“You’re able to try things and learn from those mistakes. To be able to go out and try things and receive unequivocal backing is amazing. You really grow and it improves your decision-making.

“We view every match as a great opportunity to learn.”

Even the post-mortems of those trials and tribulations reflect a setup based on support.

“The way we review our games is probably not the same as many other teams in the traditional sense,” said Xamlashe.

“We own up to our mistakes, but it’s things we learn from. It’s not about forgetting what you did wrong, it’s about seeing if you could make that idea a better one.

“More importantly, we’re having a really good time here together. The guys are enjoying it and that also helps with cohesion because almost we help each other and point out when we need to look out for certain things.

“We need to show each other the way and that also represents growth.”

Kick-off is at 15:00.

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