Coach Zane Bosch wants to see an improved defence from the FNB NMMU-Madibaz Young Guns in their crucial Varsity Cup rugby encounter against UCT on the NMMU B field on Monday.
With only one match under their belts – an opening loss to Stellenbosch – the Madibaz have had precious little game time this season, but Bosch said it had given them an opportunity to work on their skills.
“Unfortunately, we got off to a bit of a late start and only had three weeks of preparation before the Maties game,” said the Madibaz coach.
He pointed out that Stellenbosch were a powerful unit with several SA Schools players in their ranks and that they had taken some positives from the match.
“We did well in our lineouts and scrums and were good with the ball in hand, but our defence was lacking.
“However, that was our first game and we have put in a lot of work in that department. We have also been working hard on our skills over the past three weeks.”
Following the 79-20 defeat, he said victory would be crucial against Ikeys on Monday as the three pool winners, plus the best-placed second team from the pools, would qualify for the semifinals.
“We have to try to beat UCT and target a bonus point as well. They won the U21 league in Cape Town last year, so it won’t be easy.”
He explained that Madibaz had been grouped in a pool with Maties and Ikeys, playing each team in home and away matches.
“After Monday’s game we travel to Cape Town for the return match against UCT and then finish off against Maties at home two weeks later.”
Ikeys have lost both their matches to Maties, who are sure to qualify for the semifinals as the pool winners.
Bosch said a few players released from the senior Varsity Cup squad would bolster their team for the Ikeys encounter.
“We also have players like Michael Botha, a real talent from Selborne College, who can make a big impact. He can play fullback or flyhalf, while lock Ruben le Roux and prop Sandi Msengana will be other key players.”
He said they had a young team in that there were 12 first-year students in their squad.
“Most of the U20 players are in their second year, so we lack a bit of experience.
“But, basically, we will just be focusing on a good performance on Monday and only then look ahead to the rest of our matches.”
The match will get under way at 2.15pm and will be followed by the Koshuis game between NMMU’s Steinhoff Harlequins and UJ’s Chiros at 4.15pm.
After a bye this week, the Madibaz senior side will resume their campaign in the Varsity Cup when they meet University of Johannesburg in Johannesburg on Monday. Kick-off is at 6.30pm.