Fear not an option for Madibaz in Cup promotion-relegation match

rugby30 April 2024 10:33| © Full Stop Communications
article image
(l-R) Mekyle Solomon, Mzwakhe Hlupheko and Raashied Conrad © Varsity Sport

Madibaz coach David Manuel is encouraging his troops to play “without fear” in their FNB Varsity Cup promotion-relegation match against CUT this week.

Friday’s showdown, a repeat of last year’s corresponding fixture when the men from Gqeberha were the ones to miss out, will take place at a neutral venue in Johannesburg.

Manuel wanted his players to use the scars from that encounter as motivation to get one back on the team from Bloemfontein, who finished second to last in the highly competitive FNB Varsity Cup tournament.

He said that he was urging his players not to get “too caught up in the final result” but rather focus on the systems implemented over the past three seasons that served them so well in the 2024 Shield competition.

The Madibaz have won six of their eight matches to date.

“Obviously, we realise that we need to go all out for the win and we will throw the kitchen sink at them,” Manuel said.

“There can be no excuses now. It’s our ninth and last game of the season and I really want the boys to give it their all.”

Their priority in the build-up is to ready themselves for a game that will more than likely be played at a much higher intensity than what they encountered in the Shield.

“That will be the plan against CUT and we need to apply ourselves for the full 80 minutes,” the Madibaz mentor said.

“They are a big team with massive forwards and powerful backs, playing with a much higher speed and physicality to what we are used to.”

Madibaz go into the game on the back of a disappointing 24-20 semifinal loss against Varsity College after conceding a try in the dying moments.

After leading 17-3 at one stage, Manuel said they took their foot off the accelerator. But there is a bitter-sweet edge to that outcome.

While he described it as a “tough one to take”, it has allowed him more preparation time for the all-important promotion-relegation match.

“It has given us an extra week to prepare,” Manuel said of his young and upcoming side.

Madibaz tighthead prop S’bulelo Roji, who suffered an injury during the Shield semifinal, will not be available for the promotion-relegation match