Lizo Gqoboka is one of a few Vodacom Bulls players who have seamlessly juggled focus between the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and Carling Currie Cup over the past few weeks.
If he is part of the Vodacom Bulls team that takes on the Tafel Lager Griquas in a Carling Currie Cup fixture this weekend, it will be the first time in his 10-year career that the 31-year-old Springbok prop gets to play the Northern Cape side in their own backyard in Kimberley.
“It’s going to be my first time playing down there,” said an excited Gqoboka ahead of the Vodacom Bulls’ travel to Kimberley this weekend.
“You know, in my whole career, I’ve never played in Kimberley, for some weird reason. There has always been something that came up whenever I’m about to play there.
“So, if I play this weekend, it will be my first time. For me, it’s exciting. People always talk about how tough it is to play there, and those are the type of games you want to test yourself – in different conditions.”
Despite not having tasted the experience of playing in Kimberley, Gqoboka is familiar with the opposition for the weekend.
The hard-working tighthead prop expects a tough challenge from the side from the Northern Cape.
“The one thing about the Tafel Lager Griquas has always been their physicality, and they always fight right up until the end. We expect exactly that on the weekend,” he said.
“We have seen that their set piece is quite strong. Their scrum has been one of the most dominant in the competition – we are aware of that, and we are excited about the challenge.
“The main thing will be that we will need to front up physically. They have grown as a team in terms of their balance between the set piece and they also play with intensity. Their kicking game is also very good. So, it’s a good challenge.
“You can never play for 60 minutes and think you are done because they fight until the end. We’ve seen them beating the so-called big team down in Kimberley, and also winning away. It speaks to the quality of players that they have and the quality of their coaches. It’s really going to be a good game with lots of excitement.”
Gqoboka is one of the Vodacom Bulls’ frontline players who has inter-changed between the Carling Currie Cup and Vodacom URC effortlessly so far this season, and the Bok front-rower is relishing the opportunity.
“For us at the Vodacom Bulls, it is not that difficult [to juggle between the two competitions]. We have seen guys doubling up – Morne Steyn, Bismarck du Plessis, myself, and others – we play Carling Currie Cup on a Wednesday and Vodacom URC on a Saturday. Because we have one squad everybody gets an opportunity for game time. If you are not playing in the Vodacom URC, you do play in the Carling Currie Cup,” he said.
The match between the Vodacom Bulls and Tafel Lager Griquas will kick off at 14h30 on Saturday, and it will be televised on SuperSport.
Vodacom Bulls’ Carling Currie Cup head coach, Gert Smal, will announce his team for the fixture on Friday.