Varsity Cup rugby arrives in Port Elizabeth for the first time this year on Monday, February 11, when the FNB NMMU Madibaz square off with newcomers FNB Wits at the NMMU Stadium.
The Madibaz got their 2013 campaign off to an encouraging start last week when they travelled to Cape Town and retained the Monte Taljaard Trophy with a hard-fought 5-5 draw with the FNB Ikey Tigers, and they will be looking to kick on against Wits.
Last year the men from Port Elizabeth finished fifth on the log, having caused big upsets by beating the Ikeys and FNB UFS-Shimlas in dramatic finales, and they very nearly did the same in Cape Town earlier this week.
Head coach Brent Janse van Rensburg was satisfied with the committed display from his side in some tough conditions at the notorious Green Mile, but believes that they are capable of raising their standards significantly in front of their passionate home crowd on Monday.
“True courage, bravery and resilience were shown out on that field, which have become qualities that are deep rooted in the Madibaz men. I feel that the team grew from the experience and will be better for it,” he said.
Wits gained promotion to the Varsity Cup by winning the Varsity Shield last year, but they endured a tough entry to the competition last week – going down 61-7 to a ruthless UFS-Shimlas at home.
However, Janse van Rensburg made it clear that his side would not be taking anything for granted when they take to the field in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
“We are very confident, but grounded for Monday evening.
“We realise that we need to be prepared to fight every week and we feel that to get our performance up to where we want to be performing does not require major open heart surgery,” said the Madibaz coach.