FNB CUT head coach Theuns Hanekom wants his side to put in a strong first-half performance against FNB UWC on Monday and break the pattern of fighting back in the final twenty minutes of their games.
CUT are currently three points clear on top of the Varsity Shield log with a game in hand over their nearest challengers FNB Wits, but Hanekom has not been happy with the way they have had to claw their way back into many of their games.
The CUT mentor told varsitycup.co.za: “We are making a habit of coming back in the last twenty minutes, and that is not a good habit to have. It has been the same scenario in all the games – in the last twenty minutes we dominate.
“Every game I tell my guys, ‘Let’s win the game in the first half’, but it hasn’t happened for us,” he added.
Hanekom believes that his team’s conditioning has been a major factor in their ability to fight back and win games this season, explaining: “Our fitness is good, so I think that is what pulled us through at the end of the day.
“We have done it in four of our five games now,” the CUT boss added.
Despite their dominant position on the log, CUT will not be taking their game against UWC on Monday night lightly.
Hanekon explained: “The UWC game is a crunch game for us because if we win then it will be very hard for the rest of the teams to catch us. But if we slip up there then almost all of them have still got a chance.
Hanekom was disappointed with his side’s performance against Fort Hare in their last game. Although they did clinch the win at the death there were a number of areas of their play that the CUT boss was not happy with.
He commented: “We didn’t play well, especially in the first half, our basics were not good. They scrummed us off our own ball three times and our defence was not good enough, but we were much better in the second half.”
The Bloem-based coach will be looking to his forwards to create a platform from which CUT can unleash their exciting backline against UWC.
“If we can keep the backline on the front foot we can do some damage. If we can give them even 30% of the ball, then they can be devastating,” he said.
By Michael de Vries