WSU ALL BLACKS CONFIDENT AHEAD OF MAMMOTH CLASH AGAINST FORT HARE
After comfortable back-to-back triumphs against Rhodes University and CPUT in their last two matches, the WSU All Blacks will swarm onto the field come Monday 5 March against arch-rivals UFH brimming with confidence.
All Blacks captain Phumlani Blaauw exuded quiet confidence as he relayed his team’s unbridled eagerness to square off against their provincial counterparts, the UFH Blues, in what will be the fourth round of clashes of this year’s edition of the Varsity Shield competition.
“We’ve studied some of the games Fort Hare has played this season and it hasn’t impacted on our approach for the upcoming game. We want to beat them – our structure, match tempo, discipline and game plan, should we stick to these, will enable us to beat Fort Hare. I’m confident we will beat them,” says Blaauw.
Though the team’s offensive effort has been gargantuan, scoring 15 tries to amass over 80 points in their last two games, and conceding a poultry 24 (four tries), Blaauw believes the team has not yet “hit its strides”.
He said because of the huge number new faces in the 2018 squad, and the unfamiliarity thereof amongst the players, the task to assimilate and integrate the team had not yet been fully completed.
“We are well on our way to fully assimilating as a team – evidence of this are our last two performances where we’ve managed to get better with every game. I believe we’ve reserved our finest performance thus far this season for the game against Fort Hare,” says Blaauw.
The All Blacks, currently nestled in third place of the log standings with 10 points (level with UWC) after three games, will be going for the juggernaut in their quest to ascend the table in a bid to lay a platform to secure a home semi-final in the knockout stages of the competition.
These aspirations laid in tatters in the first round of games following a heavy 42-5 loss against UWC in Cape Town on 19 February.
“Though the margin in the score looks quite large, it’s not a true reflection of what happened in that game against UWC. We played better than what the score reflects, but were just unfortunate due to a number of issues,” says Blaauw.
Chief amongst those issues were poor team discipline and technical infractions that gave the ruthless UWC side the psychological and territorial advantage as penalties piled up against the Eastern Cape side.
Blaauw says the team has been worked hard since then to alleviate unnecessary and excessive routine mistakes, as is a testament to their last two encounters.
He says he looks forward running out in front of a packed and raucous crowd on Monday.
“I anticipate an electrifying atmosphere on Monday because of the bitter rivalry and magnitude of the game. However, we will not be overawed by the situation because we have our feet firmly on the ground,” concludes Blaauw.
By: Thando Cezula