FNB UJ are on a road of redemption, after losing their opening two games. They were wounded, but since then they have a ‘do-or-die’ mentality which has seen them surge up the Varsity Cup standings.
Losing ground early in any sporting competition can cost you dearly, not being able to survive with the fittest will see you perish. FNB UJ were down and wounded not so long ago, but now have changed their fortunes and have a winning mentality and that has seen them win four games on the trot. Moving them up to third spot, with semi-final destiny firmly within sight.
We take a closer look into the moments that have changed FNB UJ’s season and seen them become the ‘dark horses’ of this competition.
- Losing the two opening games
Many inexperienced sides would have suffered dearly after losing their opening two games, but while the pressure was mounting on FNB UJ to win a games, it proved to be a catalyst in their resurgence this season. After losing to FNB NWU Pukke and FNB UFS Shimlas respectively, the team from Joburg has bounced back and have climbed up the table.
- Injuries have been blessings in disguise
At the start of the season FNB UJ star fullback Ronald Brown, who has made that position his own, was ruled out with injury. But with the recent acquisitions of young players, the injury looks to be a blessing in disguise as the backline is gelling at the right time. Ewan Adams, Curtley Adams and Carlsie Jordan have done well when called upon. The young players recruited have brought guile and craft to the backline and have been ruthless, like their rivals FNB Tuks, with their try-scoring persona.
- From centre to winger and vice-versa
Aphiwe Dyantyi has finally fulfilled his potential. He won two man of the match awards in succession and is proving to be the alpha of the squad. His recent shift to centre from winger has seen him shine and be able to exploit the opposition. It has been a move long planned by the coaching and he is flourishing in his new position. His teammate Godfrey Ramaboea has also stolen the limelight. He has won man of the match awards and scored a number of tries since shifting from centre to winger. The two have been standout players so far this season, and this was evident in their recent win over FNB UCT.
FNB UJ have won four games in a row which is the joint longest winning streak alongside FNB Maties. Once FNB UJ got their team chemistry, they have produced the winning formula in the games that they have won in their pursuit for the first-ever title. They want to go all the way this season and it is evident in their approach to the season. This is a team that looks like winning the Varsity Cup.
- Team Chemistry
The side from Johannesburg are looking cohesive at the right time, after the acquisition of young players. The team took a while to get in-sync, but since their recent rise they have played marvelous rugby and should not be counted out as contenders for this seasons Varsity Cup.
By Nkosinathi Shazi