UKZN Impi to up intensity for Varsity Shield opener

2015-01-26 00:00

UKZN Impi are looking to up their intensity levels a week away from the start of the 2015 Varsity Shield.

The university side took on ­Community Cup hopefuls College Rovers at the Pieter Booysen Stadium on Friday night in their final pre-season friendly, which was played in a four-chukka format.

The final scoreline after four 20- minute quarters read 20-5 to the Durban outfit, but Impi assistant coach Dylan Campbell said his side were happy with the outcome.

“We were really happy with the game. It was good to come out with no major injuries a week before the Shield starts. We got what we needed out of the game — a final bit of game time and last look at combinations,” Campbell told The Witness yesterday.

Conceding four tries was the only concern for the coaching staff and Campbell highlighted the difference in intensity between the two sides as the deciding factor of the match.

“We needed to up our work rate during the match. Rovers were on top in the final chukka and we didn’t match their intensity.”

Set-piece work will also be a focus this week for the Impi, having conceded a try from a five-metre scrum.

“The push-over try wasn’t a huge concern as we didn’t have our strongest front-row on the field at the time. Otherwise we were happy with our scrumming, especially in the first and last chukkas. The lineouts definitely need some work as well, but that also comes down to new combinations playing together,” Campbell said.

Looking forward to the rest of the week, the students will train on their separate campuses today before meeting up tomorrow, Thursday and Friday before departing for Cape Town yesterday.

With new Varsity Shield rules limiting sides to selecting bona fide students, the Impi coaches are still waiting on a final few acceptances at the university. Campbell and head coach Ryan Strudwick are expected to name their final squad on Thursday.

Their first hurdle of the competition is University of Western Cape (UWC), who are notorious for ­attacking, exciting rugby.

“I have read a few articles in the last few weeks. They have quite a young squad and have also taken a bit of a knock from the new rules. We will have to be on form defensively, the UWC boys move the ball around. The game will be played at a quick pace,” Campbell said.

“It was ideal to play Rovers just ­before UWC as they also play a good-running game. We will have to really close the guys down.”

With 10 rounds of group stages to play, racking up wins becomes vitally important and any away victories will be crucial.

“There is no doubt we need to get off to a winning start. It would be massive to knock over UWC first off away from home. Then we can come back and focus on our home games,” Campbell said.

UKZN Impi meet UWC next Monday at the UWC Sports Stadium, Cape Town.

The match starts at 4.45 pm.

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