ON a roll after receiving a severe wake-up call early in the season, the NMMU Madibaz will be looking to secure their fourth straight victory when they take on Gardens at Rosedale in Uitenhage in the EP Grand Challenge on Saturday (May 30).
While the high-profile Varsity Cup plays a major part in the varsity’s rugby structures, coach David Maidza said on Thursday the Grand Challenge was equally important in their efforts to grow rugby at NMMU.
“Sometimes it is a bit of a challenge for the students because they also have studying commitments but we do see the Grand Challenge as a very important part of our system because there is no other rugby at this stage,” Maidza said.
“It is an important competition for us to keep growing our rugby and we take on every single team we face with utmost respect.”
After losses to Harlequins and Despatch, the Madibaz have won three in a row but Maidza acknowledged there would be no easy pickings against Gardens.
“They are a very good side and very competitive, especially when they play at Rosedale,” he said, “and I remember how they ran us ragged last year.
“The two losses we had were a very good wake-up call and we will be up for the Gardens challenge to try to continue the winning form from last week.”
Harlequins, who came unstuck in their previous match against Progress, now find themselves up against it when they host the high-flying Despatch at the Adcock Stadium.
Quins were the first team to lower NMMU’s colours this year, but it will take a massive effort to knock the Despatch juggernaut out of their stride. Both sides will be fresh after a break last weekend and anything other than a Despatch victory would be a major surprise.
Having failed to win a match so far, African Bombers have the odds stacked against them when they travel to Humansdorp to play Kruisfontein, despite the latter’s less than perfect record of one win and three losses in their four matches.
Crusaders will also be tested when they travel to Alexandria to take on Trying Stars, while Park will be aiming to end a run of three defeats in a row in a home game against league rookies Windvogel.
In the remaining match Brumbies will host Progress in what should be a well contested fixture, despite homeground advantage for the Grahamstown team.
The fixtures, kicking off at 3.30pm, are: Brumbies v Progress at Grahamstown Oval, Park v Windvogel at Londt Park, Gardens v NMMU at Rosedale, Harlequins v Despatch at Adcock, Trying Stars v Crusaders at Alexandria, Kruisfontein v African Bombers at Country Club