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Change the world

01/03/2023

The bruising nature of the FNB Varsity Shield has proved to be a steep learning curve for FNB Madibaz’s Mpumelelo Mavuso who, fortunately, is a fast learner.

In only his second outing for the Nelson Mandela University outfit, Mavuso was named the Player that Rocks as the Gqeberha side held on to a 29-24 victory over the University of KwaZulu-Natal last week.
 
The 23-year-old scrumhalf made his debut in another close encounter in the team’s opening match against Tshwane University of Technology the week before.
 
He admitted that the physicality of those games had left him wide-eyed and with the realisation that he had to work hard to adjust to the pace at this level.
 
“It really has been an exciting experience, but there is so much to learn,” said the second-year biokinetics student, who grew up in the Western Cape before moving to Ulundi in KZN in Grade 9.
 
“It has been a wake-up call to see the speed of the game and, definitely, the guys hit much harder in the tackle compared to what I’m used to.”
 
Despite being battered, he added that he was grateful for the opportunity he had been given to play at this level.
 
“I would even go as far as to say that I’m living my dream.”
 
Despite playing a starring role in the Madibaz’s second straight victory, Mavuso said there was no place for complacency as there was plenty that he and the team could work on.
 
“The lesson we took from the KZN game is that once we put on the pressure, we cannot afford to take our foot off the gas, even for a moment.”
 
Having controlled proceedings early on, the Madibaz must have been full of confidence when they led 29-14 going into the break. However, they were unable to reproduce the intensity and failed to trouble the scorers in the second half.
 
“That’s how teams make comebacks in the dying minutes of the game,” he warned.
 
“We were pleased to walk away with the win, but I think we let ourselves down in parts of the game where better decisions could have been made.”
 
He felt they could have won by a larger margin had they been able to maintain the pressure throughout the 80 minutes.
 
From a personal perspective, Mavuso wanted to work on being more dominant in defence and a greater threat on attack.
 
“I believe it was my box kicking and passing that got me recognised in this game, but the award did come as a bit of a shock. I felt I had a good game but didn’t think I would get more than a stamp of approval from the coaches.”
 
Even though he didn’t cross for a try, the number nine was happy to contribute to a winning cause.
 
“As a scrumhalf, it’s always a great feeling to effectively apply the system given to us by the coaches. It’s not about scoring tries but about executing the gameplan so that we are able to achieve our goals.”
 
Madibaz next face Walter Sisulu University in Mdantsane on Thursday and Mavuso said they were preparing for another extreme challenge.
 
“After two defeats, they are desperate for a win. They are a very physical team and quick up in defence.”
 
There were no easy matches in the Shield and the Madibaz were expecting nothing less than a dog fight in front of their opponents’ home crowd, he said.
 
 
FNB Madibaz scrumhalf Mpumelelo Mavuso is held in a tackle in their FNB Varsity Shield match against University of KwaZulu-Natal in Maritzburg last week. Madibaz won 29-24 and Mavuso was named the Player that Rocks. Photo: Varsity Sport
 

Contact information
Mr Riaan Osman
Deputy Director
Tel: 041 504 2170
riaan.osman@mandela.ac.za