Impi ready for bruising match-up in Shield opener

2013-01-28 00:00

IT has been a tough week of training and team selection for University of KwaZulu-Natal Impi head coach Shawn van Rensburg and his management team.

There’s no doubt, however, that Van Rensburg feels his side is ready for the opening Varsity Shield match of the season against University of Fort Hare at the Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road in Scottsville late this afternoon.

The 4.45 pm kick-off will start a bruising match-up between two teams desperate to start their campaigns with a win.

“The Peter Booysen Sports Park rugby stadium is our fortress and we simply refuse to believe that we cannot win our home games,” a steely Van Rensburg told The Witness after the final training session yesterday.

The coach said it had been a tough week of preparation but he was pleased to say that he has the players to do the job.

Van Rensburg said the squad has depth and a fine team spirit with the players who didn’t make the match 23 having been excellent in their approach to that disappointment.

“The guys are keyed up, the mood in the camp is great and we are looking to start the season with a win, nothing less,” said the coach.

“It’s going to be a fight for supremacy. We cannot lose our home games, a case of go big or go home, where one mistake can cost you the game.

“I have emphasised accuracy with the guys all week. We need to be accurate out there, despite the pressure, and if the guys stick to our game plan and structure, we will win this match,” Van Rensburg said.

UKZN Impi official Mark Schulze made a passionate plea to the Midlands public to come out and support their home team. “The UKZN Impi need every voice in the Midlands supporting them,” Schulze added.

University of Fort Hare, who beat the Impi in both matches last year, will be led by star flank Billy Dutton and steered by wily coach Elliot Fana.

Rape survivor Jes Foord will give a talk before the match.

The Impi are passionate about the work of the Jes Foord Foundation and are actively raising money for the Jes Foord Foundation Community Centre as part of their campaign.

One of South Africa’s outstanding sopranos, Haylea Hounsom, will sing the national anthem before the match.

Hounsom, reading for a music degree at UKZN, also featured prominently in the 2011 version of Idols.

There will also be all the usual festive fun so synonymous with this hugely popular competition.

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