Impi eager to claim first Varsity Shield

2014-03-26 00:00

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal Impi are confident that they can go to Bloemfontein and beat the Central University of Technology Ixias in the Varsity Shield final next Monday.

Club administrator Nic Haswell felt that the fact that John Mitchell’s Impi had beaten the Ixias in Pietermaritzburg to secure second place on the log last Monday would give them the upper hand in next week’s final.

“We’re very excited. It’s the first time in our history that we’ve made the final and it’s taken a lot of hard work on and off the field, and behind the scenes to have gotten us this far,” Haswell told The Witness yesterday.

“The support staff has been great. You can hire a great coach, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done behind the scenes,” he added.

The Ixias will no doubt play in front of fervent support on Monday, and Haswell said they were investigating whether it would be possible for them to travel with some students for the final.

There is a lot at stake for the Impi. The winner of the game will gain auto­matic promotion into next year’s Varsity Cup, while the loser will go into a promotion/relegation play-off against the second-from-bottom Varsity Cup side, the University of Johannesburg — in Potchefstroom.

“We feel it will be easier for us to play CUT in Bloemfontein than UJ in Potch, at 2 pm in the afternoon,” Haswell said.

Speaking about last Monday’s game, Haswell said CUT played a very regimented game which was focused on keeping the ball in the forwards and a lot of kicking. But, their forwards managed to get the better of the Bloemfontein side in Pietermaritzburg.

“Our forwards started to dominated in the late stages of the game, and that’s when they started to make mistakes,” he said about the game which they won 39-21.

Should they win and qualify for the Varsity Cup, Haswell felt they had the quality in their squad to make sure that they were able to remain in the premier student rugby competition in the country.

And, due the good relationship coach Mitchell has with the Sharks, they would benefit by letting some of their union’s academy players play in the Varsity Cup.

“They’ve been keen for us to get there,” he said.

Monday’s Varsity Shield final will be televised live on Supersport 1, and will kick off at 4.30 pm.

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