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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).

Griffons logo.svg
Full nameGriffons
UnionGriffons Rugby Union
RegionPart of the Free State Province, South Africa
Ground(s)North West Stadium, Welkom (Capacity: 17,000)
Coach(es)Jacques Juries
Captain(s)Duan Pretorius
League(s)Currie Cup First Division
4th on log
Team kit
Official website
Rugby football current event.svg Current season

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.


Current squadEdit

The following players were included in the Griffons squad for the 2019 Currie Cup First Division:[2]

Griffons Rugby Challenge squad




Loose Forwards


  •   Jaywinn Juries
  •   Duncan van Vuuren
  •   Ethan Williams



  •   Balo Mteyise
  •   Neil Stannard
  •   Arthur Williams
  •   Mario Wilson


  •   Ezrick Alexander
  •   Allistair Mumba


(c) Denotes team captain.


  1. ^ "Welcome to the Griffons Rugby Union". Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Squad: Griffons". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 25 August 2019.

External linksEdit