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Varsity Shield 2014 UWC vs CUT

Crunch time for UWC rugby team

It will be a case of ‘do or die’ for FNB UWC when they host champions and log-leaders, FNB CUT IXIAS, in a Varsity Shield match at UWC Stadium on Thursday 27 February. Kick-off is at 7pm.

Peter De Villiers’ men will try to put their campaign back on track following a three-match losing streak which has seen them drop from the summit to the basement of the five-team second tier varsity rugby competition.

The former Springbok mentor watched as his side went down 24-33 at home against FNB UKZN Impi. This loss followed defeats to FNB TUT Vikings (31-34) and reigning champions, CUT IXIAS (8-30).

But De Villiers is still confident his charges can turn things around. “We have not given up hope, but we know it’s going to be very tough for us,” he said of his team’s chances in the competition. “We must take all remaining games as finals and try to win with bonus points.” CUT has been UWC’s nemesis in the competition, having won all their fixtures since Varsity Shield’s inception three years ago.

“We can beat them,” responded De Villiers confidently. “We have the makings to beat any team if we can work to the level that we are capable of working, because at training this team is so perfect. The last three games were always the same. It took me back to the World Cup in 2011 (when he was coach of the Springboks) where you control everything, but you can’t control the scoreboard. The only people who can turn this whole thing around are the players. As a team we will sit down and show the players where they went wrong.”

The competition has been quite unpredictable this season. CUT lost at home to FNB Fort Hare on Monday, and FNB UKZN, who lost their first two games, have since bounced back into contention. This has led to a mere 10-points difference between the first and last team, and could also count in UWC’s favour.