The FNB Madibaz Young Guns will take a positive approach into their make-or-break FNB Varsity Cup rugby encounter against the unbeaten Stellenbosch outfit on the NMMU B field on Monday.
Following a bonus-point win over UCT last week, Madibaz stumbled somewhat on Monday when they lost 26-15 to the Cape Town side in their return match.
This means they are lying third in the section, but coach Zane Bosch said they could still figure in the play-offs if they put in a winning performance against Maties.
“We know it will not be easy against a strong Maties side but there is a positive spirit in the camp and the players are fired up to do well in this game,” he said.
“If we are able to pull off a win, we will still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the semifinals if some of the other results go our way.”
The three section winners – Maties, Free State and UP-Tuks – have qualified for the last four and they will be joined by the best second-placed team.
Bosch said they were looking forward to playing on their home ground on Monday and although they were well beaten by Maties in their earlier game, he took some positives from that encounter.
“We competed well in the scrums and lineouts and were able to score a few tries. But our defence was lacking.”
That was Madibaz’s first game of the season and Bosch said he had seen a “vast improvement” in the team’s performances since then.
He said, however, he would be calling for greater discipline from his players after they were punished with three yellow cards against UCT this week.
“Playing into the wind, we trailed only 8-2 (penalties in Varsity Cup are worth two points) at halftime, but then we had three yellow cards and that really cost us dearly,” said Bosch.
“We know we have our backs to the wall against Maties but the guys are determined to show what they can do.”
The match will start at 2.15pm and will be followed by the Steinhoff Koshuis premiership match between Steinhoff Harlequins (Madibaz) and Cobras (UCT) at 4.15pm.
Harlequins and Cobras face a crucial showdown as they are the only two unbeaten teams in their section.
In the senior Varsity Cup, Madibaz will be looking for their second win of the competition when they tackle Shimlas in Bloemfontein.