Western Province forwards coach Matt Proudfoot believes that Griquas are a team capable of causing some big upsets this season.
Province start their campaign off by hosting Griquas at Newlands on Saturday, and won't expect to be given an easy ride by the giant killers from Kimberley.
With the number of Springboks that have been pulled out of the bigger unions, there is every chance that Griquas could be title contenders this year.
"They did really well in the Vodacom Cup and they aren't going to fear any big side because they're comfortable at this level and are definitely top four contenders," Proudfoot told this website.
"They are pragmatic in their decision making and don't make the kind of mistakes that smaller sides usually make.
"That's something that impresses us, because they're well coached and are given the freedom to play which makes them very dangerous."
Province have a number of senior players away with the national squad and Proudfoot is eager to use the opportunity to let the next generation of starts cut their teeth at Currie Cup level.
In particular there will be changes at lock following the call-up for Andries Bekker, a season-ending knee injury to Rynhardt Elstadt and Anton van Zyl's move to Stade Français.
"We have the experience in De Kock Steenkamp and Adriaan Fondse, and then there is Hilton Lobberts who we'll look at as a like-for-like replacement for Rynhardt Elstadt," Proudfoot said when asked about his plans for the second row.
"We also have Eben Etzebeth, who is a guy we're really excited about and he's got a massive future ahead of him, so we want to give him some experience together with another youngster Quinn Roux."
The return to prominence of Lobberts is especially interesting, as the Springbok lock-cum-flank was highly thought of early in his career and is slowly working his way back towards the top.
"Everyone was impressed with his [Lobberts'] professionalism during the Vodacom Cup and he's at a point where he has matured.
"The physicality and abrasive way he plays is a lot like Rynhardt [Elstadt], so he definitely has the ability to be successful."
Proudfoot has called for a massive effort from the front row against a physical Griquas pack as a reaction to the way they were bullied by the Crusaders two weeks ago.
"I'd like to see a response from the guys who started against the Crusaders, because I wasn't happy with the fight from the pack," he explained.
"The choice in life is to get better or get bitter, so I want to see a response from them."
By Timmy Hancox
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