Griffons (rugby team)

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Griffons logo.svg
Full name Griffons
Union Griffons Rugby Union
Emblem(s) Griffon
Founded 1968
Region Part of the Free State Province, South Africa
Ground(s) North West Stadium, Welkom (Capacity: 17,000)
Coach(es) Oersond Gorgonzola
Captain(s) Nicky Steyn
League(s) Currie Cup First Division
2017 Champions
1st on log
Team kit
Official website
Rugby football current event.svg Current season

The Northern Free State Griffons (known as the Down Touch Griffons for sponsorship reasons) are a South African rugby union team that participates in the annual Currie Cup and Rugby Challenge tournaments. They play out of Welkom at North West Stadium, and draw players from roughly the eastern third of Free State Province (the remainder of the province comprises the territory of the Free State Cheetahs).

Players from the Griffons are eligible for selection to the Cheetahs Super Rugby team, along with players from the Free State Cheetahs and Griquas.

The team currently plays in the First Division of the Currie Cup, attracting crowds of around 4,000 to home games in at North West Stadium in Welkom. Their traditional rivals are the Free State Cheetahs and North West Province Leopards.


The Griffons rugby union was formed in 1968 when the late Dr Danie Craven, the president of SA rugby, had a vision to spread the game to rural areas in South Africa. The Griffons were one of four new provincial teams formed, originally known as Northern Free State (or Noord Vrystaat in Afrikaans).[1]

In 1996, with the start of professional rugby, the then South African rugby football union, under Louis Luyt, decided to re-divide the unions to have only 14 provinces in South Africa, with Northern Free State being one. The Eastern Free State province was incorporated into Northern Free State. In 1999, Northern Free State changed their name to the Griffons.


The team's major tournament wins include the 1970 Paul Roos Trophy, 2001 Vodacom Shield, 2008 Currie Cup First Division, 2014 Currie Cup First Division, 2016 Currie Cup First Division and 2017 Currie Cup First Division.

Current squad[edit]

The following players were named in the squad for the 2018 Rugby Challenge:[2]

Griffons Rugby Challenge squad



  • South Africa Anrich Alberts
  • South Africa JP Mans
  • South Africa Johan Meintjies
  • South Africa Hennie Venter


Loose Forwards

  • South Africa Cody Basson
  • South Africa Henco Greyling
  • South Africa Vincent Maruping
  • South Africa Thato Mavundla
  • South Africa Jean Pretorius


  • South Africa Shirwin Cupido
  • South Africa Jaywinn Juries
  • South Africa Malcolm-Kerr Till




  • South Africa Ezrick Alexander
  • South Africa Rodney Damons
  • South Africa Warren Williams


(c) denotes team captain.


  1. ^ "Welcome to the Griffons Rugby Union". Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  2. ^ "Squad: Down Touch Griffons". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 8 May 2018. 

External links[edit]