Hungry Impi liein wait for UWC

2013-03-18 00:00

IT’S the moment of truth for both the University of KwaZulu-Natal Impi and University of Western Cape (UWC) when the teams meet in today’s 7 pm Varsity Shield match at the Peter Booysen Sports Park rugby stadium off Golf Road in Scottsville.

UKZN made a special plea to supporters, urging them to get to the stadium on the Pietermaritzburg campus early in order to avoid traffic congestion. The national anthem will be sung at 6.50 pm with kick-off at 7 pm.

Both teams are targeting a berth in the Varsity Shield final on April 1 against Bloemfontein’s unbeaten Central University of Technology (CUT).

The Impi are second on the log with 16 log points while UWC are fourth on 12 points but have a game in hand.

Tonight’s match is a must-win for both the Impi and UWC.

It will be the last league match of the season for the Impi, and with the support of their home fans they are sure to give everything.

Third-placed University of Fort Hare are on 15 points, but have a massive task ahead if they are to reach the final, as they take on runaway leaders CUT today before facing UWC in Bellville on March 25.

Essentially, the Impi must beat UWC and hope that Fort Hare lose one of their last two games, while UWC must win both of their remaining games to reach the final.

Yesterday’s final practice saw the Impi checking one last time that everyone in the team was on the same page

“We tweaked a few aspects of our game plan during this past week and it was just a case of running through a few ideas again, keeping the calls fresh in our minds,” Impi captain and number eight Andre Greyvenstein told The Witness.

The fact that the Impi have a very real chance to play in their first final since the inception of the Varsity Shield is incentive enough.

“Yes, it is the first time since the start of the Varsity Shield competition that we can actually talk about getting into the final, but we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves.

“It’s about getting the mindset right,” Greyvenstein said.

“We are not phased about specific players in their team, we are just going to go out their guns blazing, try our very best and hopefully come away with a win.

“They do play around specific ball carriers and have got some nippy backs, but they’re not just a running side, they have some big forwards and they mix it up well.”

The Impi, wooden spoonists in 2012, lost to UWC on the Pietermaritzburg campus last year, but the Bellville lads have not won a single match on the road during the current campaign.

It is also a battle of wits between the Impi management team, led by head coach Shawn van Rensburg, and the UWC brains trust, headed by former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

Van Rensburg told The Witness last week that the Impi’s general approach would be direct, with the emphasis on keeping it tight and preserving possession, adding that the team were highly motivated and ready for the challenge.

UWC beat the Impi 38-15 in Bellville just over a month ago, scoring six tries to two against, with four of their touchdowns coming in the first half.

But the Impi have won four matches while UWC have only won two. However, UWC have managed four bonus points while the Impi have none.

TEAMS

University of KZN Impi: 15 Brandon Bailing, 14 Hendrik Lategan, 13 Gareth Meikle, 12 Carl Meyer, 11 Mondli Ntshingila, 10 Jeandre Small, 9 Graham Koch, 8 Andre Greyvenstein (capt), 7 Calvin Ngcungama, 6 Zwela Zondi, 5 Dumani Dludla, 4 Corne Nieuwenhuizen, 3 Sizwe Khubeka, 2 Nicolas du Plooy, 1 Leon Mulder. Replacements: 16 Senzo Ngubane, 17 Luciando Santos, 18 Gerrit Fourie, 19 Theo Kruger, 20 Siphathisene Dube, 21 Hendrik Groenewald, 22 Josh Hart, 23 Sanele Mweli.

University of Western Cape: 15 Warrick Rhoda, 14 Donovan Williams, 13 Kenwin Weiner, 12 Justin Mckay, 11 Minenhle Mthethwa, 10 Frederick Muller, 9 Denzel Willemse, 8 Heinrich Marcus, 7 Sebenza Maphumulo, 6 Jose Julies, 5 Pallo Manuel, 4 Methetheleli Fuzani, 3 Kelvin de Bruyn, 2 Charlton van Jaarsveld (capt), 1 Michael September. Replacements: 16 Ludwe Ntlokondala, 17 Siphiwokuhle Bakeni, 18 Samuel Borsah, 19 Jaycee Jooste, 20 Charl van Vollenhoven, 21 Quaid Langeveldt, 22 Yondela Stampu, 23 (to be named).

Kick-off: 7 pm. Referee: Blake Beattie.

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