Like rats off a sinking ship, Valke players are leaving in their droves. Having failed to save the skin of their coach and their franchise, they’ve all bolted in search of yet another big-time payday, leaving their former side to wallow in the first division without any prospect of getting out of it anytime soon.
Griquas have announced their provisional squad for 2009 and they seem to have profited more than most from the Valke exodus, as well as from the demise of the Boland union’s headline sponsor, Fidentia. The diamond farmers have assembled a pretty handy looking squad, with a number of WP cast-offs in the frame as well and one would expect them to be a pretty competitive side next year.
The signing of promising Bulls winger Trompie Nontshinga out from under the noses of the Lions made the headlines recently. Gavin Passens and Egon Seconds are others with Super Rugby experience who’ll ply their trade on the wing for Griquas next year, while centre Dewald Pretorius, ex of the Valke, will look to make a big impact. Naas Olivier has turned his loan move from WP into a permanent one and he will compete with former Shark Conrad Barnard for the flyhalf jersey. Interestingly, Herkie Kruger’s name is absent, making one wonder about his future.
In the pack, though, it’s all change, with veteran loose forward Sean Plaatjes (Valke) and Emerging Bok Davon Raubenheimer (Eagles) joining former Cheetah Jonothan Mokuena in making the move to Kimberley. Cecil Kemp, a big lock from Boland, is also in the picture, while there will be three completely new hookers. Ryno Barnes from the Valke, Andries Kruger from the Griffons and Province hooker Simon Westraad will all play out of Kimberley next season. WP prop Ruaan du Preez is another who has made the move from WP a permanent thing after being on loan in 2008.Tweet