Impi face crunch match against Wits

2011-03-14 00:00

THE University of KZN Impi go into tonight’s crunch Varsity Shield match against second-placed Wits University in Johannesburg knowing their opponents are desperate for a win.

With this, their second-last clash in the competition, Wits lie second with 18 points from six outings, while leaders Central University of Technology (CUT)of Bloemfontein are in pole position to challenge for Varsity Cup promotion with 22 points from five matches.

University of Western Cape are third with 14 points from six, the Impi are fourth with eight from five, and University of Fort Hare fifth with six from six.

Wits Rugby Stadium can expect to see an extremely physical match-up in the tight five with the loose trios fighting tooth and nail for the all-important breakdown ball.

Impi head coach Beans Bateman told The Witness from Johannesburg yesterday that the Wits Kudus’ 22-12 first-round win over UKZN in Pietermaritzburg, which saw them score three tries to nil, was built around “a pack that set up space for their attacking backs”.

“We must be competitive around the breakdown, but also have the patience not to concede penalties by choosing the right time to attack the breakdown,” said Bateman.

Leaving tries on the table has also been an Impi problem. “We have been working really hard on our finishing at training. It has let us down badly, as we are creating try-scoring opportunities, so a lot of discussion has gone into why we are not rounding off.”

The Vodacom Cup-winning KZN Wildebeest coach said that if the Impi finish third in the Varsity Shield he would be happy, but it’s the old saying of taking it one game at a time.

After Wits, UKZN take on Fort Hare next Monday at Davidson Rugby Field in Alice, Eastern Cape, before the Impi season finale on March 28 against heavy Shield favourites CUT at Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road in PMB.

In Varsity Cup, Maties are top with 21 points after five rounds, followed by UCT (19 pts), Tuks (17), Shimlas (14), NMMU (6), TUT (5) and North West University’s Pukke (2).

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