Must-win clash for both Impi and Blues

2014-02-03 00:00

THIS evening’s second-round Varsity Shield rugby match between home side UKZN Impi and University of Fort Hare Blues on the Howard College campus in Durban is a must-win for each team after both suffered defeats last week.

The Impi were desperately unfortunate to be edged out by a solitary point in their 26-25 defeat at the hands of Varsity Shield defending champions Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein while the UFH Blues’ pack reportedly had their moments at home in Alice against University of Western Cape (UWC) but the Bellville lads prevailed 26-8 in the final analysis.

With just five teams in the competition and a league phase of only eight matches, there is precious little room for recovery should two defeats in succession occur. Success in home matches is paramount — and it is here that the Impi are in something of a grey area.

In previous years all Impi home matches have been played at the Peter Booysen Sports Park on the Pietermaritzburg campus but this season the four home matches are shared with the Howard College campus in Durban.

However, the Impi squad have trained and held camps at the Durban venue, which makes them familiar with the conditions. UFH Blues are not familiar with the Durban ground — and with home crowd support the Impi should have the measure of the Blues’ threat.

With both teams throwing caution to the wind in the search for victory, referee Archie Sehlako will no doubt have his hands full during this match, while the coastal supporters will be looking for a minimum of whistle.

Although the Impi lost last week, they did pick up a bonus point due to the narrow margin of defeat and today presents an opportunity to build on that.

Impi centre Rico Lategan swops numbers at centre, while Gavin Nyawata comes off the sub’s bench into the outside centre berth. In the forwards, the powerful Adam Wessels slots in at lock.

The Blues’ pack show no changes, while there are three in the backline.

UKZN Impi: 15 Brandon Bailing, 14 Shayne Makombe, 13 Gavin Nyawata, 12 Rico Lategan, 11 Hendrik Groenewald, 10 Brandon Cope, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Deon Carney, 7 Zwela Zondi, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama (capt), 5 Johan Wagenaar, 4 Adam Wessels, 3 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Henri Boshoff. Replacements: 16 Mikyle Webster, 17 Sizwe Kubheka, 18 Marco Hillebrand, 19 Sanele Malwane, 20 Nelson Makhanye, 21 Mondli Ntshingila, 22 Alrich Brown, 23 Leon Mulder.

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