Jonathan Francke is no stranger to hard times. But his tenacity makes him a force to be reckoned with. Despite not having a contract for 3 months he gave his all to rugby at Boland and eventually he was signed by Tafel Lager Griquas
Playing alongside his elder brother for Strand United at the age of 16 and winning the league inspired Tafel Lager Griquas outside centre Johnathan Francke to pursue his rugby dreams.
When he was selected for the Maties under 21 team a few years later, he realised that he could make rugby his career.
Making the decision was one thing, but achieving it wasn’t quite as easy.
“I was without a contract at Boland for three months. I told myself this is the end. I thought about my family and what they were going through and played my best rugby. Then I got three offers and decided to go with Tafel Lager Griquas.”
It was a life lesson that made a big impression.
“I learnt that even if life knocks you down, never stop fighting.”
He says playing in the Currie Cup is important to him because: “You can compare yourself against the best in the country.”
The Tafel Lager Griquas, formerly known as Griqualand West, played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Currie Cup. In the first British Isles rugby union tour in 1891 the team carried with them a particularly precious bit of cargo, a golden cup given to them by Sir Donald Currie. His instructions were for this trophy to be handed over to the team in South Africa that gave the best game. After a spirited display where the unbeaten British Lions narrowly won 3-0, Griqualand West became the first ever to hold aloft the Currie Cup. They then handed the trophy over to the South African rugby board and it became the floating trophy for the Currie Cup competition.
The Tafel Lager Griquas, who are the current Supersport Challenge victors, may be one of the so-called smaller unions, but they have proven that they should never be underestimated.
The Tafel Lager Griquas have not only played an enormous part in the establishment of the Currie Cup as the coveted domestic trophy, but the side have also produced impressive Springboks through the years. The Tafel Lager Griquas have been instrumental in the development of Davon Raubenheimer, Bjorn Basson and one of South Africa's most exciting fullbacks, Willie le Roux.