(Published - 21 January 2019)
The UWC Rugby side played a warm-up match against Maties at the UWC Rugby Stadium on Saturday. The men from Stellenbosch eventually won the match, which served as preparation for the upcoming FNB Varsity Cup. Maties won the friendly 71-12 after leading 45-5 at halftime.
Maties, who are the defending champions, having won the tournament a record 4 times, led the match 14-0 after ten minutes. They dominated the set-pieces and breakdowns up front.
The match was played over three periods, with the first half lasting the customary 40 minutes, followed by two additional periods of 30 minutes each. The coaches, Chester Williams of UWC Rugby and Hawies Fourie of Maties, both used as many players as they could and sent on a fresh team after every interval.
Williams, the 1995 Rugby World Cup winner and Springbok legend, said that the purpose of the match was purely to get some game time ahead of their FNB Varsity Cup debut against FNB Ikeys in Cape Town on 4 February.
“The result wasn’t really important for us today, but we needed to see where we are in terms of our preparation for the upcoming Varsity Cup. The match against Maties was tough but it’s exactly what we needed, and it’s great that we could test ourselves against the champions,” he said.
Williams will be happy with some of the performances. Flanker Bronlee Mouries showed his powerful ball carrying abilities and also put in some big hits in defence, while Flyhalf Aidynn Cupido and Tristan Leyds at fullback showed that teams will have to keep a close eye on them if they want to keep the Udubs backline quiet.
Backline coach, another former Springbok, Bolla Conradie, said that they will have to work hard on defence in the next week or so after the team conceded 11 tries in the friendly.
“We missed too many first-time tackles and that put us on the back foot. We will have to talk about that and improve our attitudes on defence before we play against UCT,” the former scrumhalf said.
The exciting Leyds, the brother of Springbok, Dillyn, said he was looking forward to the tournament.
“We can’t wait to get stuck in and get the tournament underway. The Varsity Cup has always been entertaining with games being played at a fast pace and at a high intensity, so I’m really looking forward to it as I love playing an expansive, running game. We still need to work hard in the next few weeks and rectify those aspects of our game that didn’t work so well today,” he said after the game.
Udubs will be concerned over the wellbeing of flanker Joel Paarwater and wing Sthsaba Mqhatu after both had to leave the field after taking heavy blows to their heads. However, they will be happy about the availability of wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, who is currently touring with the National Sevens Academy, but is believed to be available for the Varsity Cup.