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05/04/2023

The FNB Madibaz will have a shot at redemption when they meet Cape Peninsula University of Technology at home in the semi-finals of the FNB Varsity Shield on Thursday.

 

It will be an opportunity for Leon van der Merwe and his men to show that they have learnt their lessons after earlier in the competition letting a sizeable lead slip against their Western Cape rivals to lose 35-32.

Even though the Gqeberha-based team produced good enough results to finish second on the log behind University of Western Cape to earn a slot in the promotion-relegation match, they will have a score to settle.

“There’s a definite determination in the team for the semi-final this week because it’s an opportunity to rectify the mistakes we made against them last time,” said the Nelson Mandela University loose forward.

“Our focus will be on managing the game much better. We had a big lead last time and allowed them back in through our own mistakes.

“We have to minimise those unforced errors and make sure we control possession to deny them the ball.”

Madibaz have an important period ahead of them if they manage to get past CPUT on Thursday. They will play in the Shield final on April 13, followed by the promotion-relegation match against Central University of Technology the following week.

“We know how important the next couple of weeks are going to be. It will be a case of taking it one step at a time and just focusing on the next challenge at hand,” said Van der Merwe.

He paid tribute to his young squad who had shown extreme commitment to the cause in a tough competition this season.

“A lot of the players got their first taste of Varsity Shield and they have had to rise up to the challenges of the tournament. I have been very proud of them.”

The skipper said as they still had the opportunity to be promoted the team were very motivated to keep working hard.

“We just have to stick to our systems and trust our processes.”

It is also an opportunity for the Madibaz to repay the fans for their support throughout the season.

“The supporters have been amazing and we have really appreciated the atmosphere at the home games. This is potentially our last home fixture of the season and we would love to play in front of a packed stadium.”

Madibaz Sport rugby manager Mthunzi Hewu said he was confident the team would have learnt from their previous encounter.

“It’s a second bite at the cherry for us and I have no doubt the coach and players have worked hard to fix the mistakes.”

He said CPUT liked a running game while the Madibaz relied on a more solid structure.

“But we need to be prepared for whatever they bring to make sure of a win in this home semi-final.”

The other Varsity Shield semi will be between UWC and University of Fort Hare at UWC.

The match at the Madibaz Stadium kicks off at 3.30pm.

FNB Madibaz skipper Leon van der Merwe (with ball) is confident that the Nelson Mandela University side have a shot at redemption when they host Cape Peninsula University of Technology in the FNB Varsity Shield semi-finals at Madibaz Stadium in Gqeberha on Thursday. Photo: Varsity Sports

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