It will be an emotional moment for Boland captain Piet van Zyl when he leads the Cavaliers on to the field here on Friday for the Currie Cup promotion-relegation match against the Griffons.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Van Zyl, 29, confirmed on Thursday that he would be joining three other Boland players in moving to the Free State Cheetahs next year. The others are prop forwards WP Nel and Jean Botha and wing Danwel Demas. Loose forward Dries van Schalkwyk is on his way to the Blue Bulls.
“This will be my 143rd match for Boland,” Van Zyl said. “I’ve been here for seven seasons.”
Van Zyl, who will have Demas alongside him in the starting lineup on Friday, intends playing abroad after next year’s Super 14 competition.
The match against the Griffons may therefore be the last at Boland Stadium for the man who has played in more matches for the Cavaliers than anyone else.
“Most of the players already know what they will be doing next year,” Van Zyl said. “The team will have a very different look. It will be a young team.”
The captain is eager to ensure that the Cavaliers remain in the Premier League. Victory on Friday is extremely important because the survival battle is decided over two matches. The teams also meet at Welkom next week.
The winner will be the one that gains most league points in the two matches. It they tie, the team with the best points difference will play in the Premier League next season.
“This is about possible sponsorships. You can’t market yourself if your games are not shown on television,” Van Zyl said, emphasising the importance of the match for the Boland Rugby Union.
“That we’re playing in a promotion-relegation match shows we were unsuccessful.
“However, I feel the season will be regarded as a success if we ensure Boland play in the Premier League again next year. It is on a knife’s edge.”
Former Boland and Springbok hooker Dale Santon predicts a Boland victory on Friday.
“The Cavaliers are a little like the Springboks. They produce good performances when they have their backs to the wall,” Santon said on Thursday.
“Piet is an experienced captain. The forwards must only do their thing… the Griffons are in for a hiding.”Tweet