If FNB Tuks manage to beat FNB Maties on Monday at the LC de Villiers Stadium in the Varsity Cup final, they will have achieved something that none of their predecessors has been able to do. That is to beat the team from Stellenbosch twice in the same year in the popular series.
The “StripeUp Team” could also reach another milestone should they win. It will be their third title which means that they will join FNB Maties as the most successful team in the history of the Varsity Cup. The FNB Maties team was victorious from 2008 to 2010 while FNB Tuks won in 2012 and 2013.
FNB Tuks sort of avenged last year’s semi-final defeat by beating FNB Maties in their first encounter, 13-9. However, Tinus de Beer hinted that as far as his teammates and he are concerned, there is still unfinished business they need to attend to on the field. He did not deny that it had to do with trying to beat FNB Maties for the second time.
“It is not going to be easy. There is no such a thing as an easy game when you play against Maties. They never give up until the final whistle has blown but we are ready for the challenge,” said De Beer who impressed as flyhalf during the FNB Tuks campaign.
He is a real playmaker seemingly able to know when to do what at the right moment. One of his outstanding attributes is his fearlessness on defence. Many a flyhalf is at times hesitant to go for the “big hit”. De Beer seems to relish it.
He never doubted which sport he wanted to play. It was always rugby. For him, there is nothing more exciting than trying to sidestep and run with the ball and with well-placed kicks get the opposition to fall back.
“As a flyhalf, I see my role to dictate the game to do so you must be able to read the game knowing when to pass or when to kick. You must also be able to adapt midway through a game. Different circumstances require different tactics.”
Another of De Beer’s attributes as a rugby player is his goal-kicking ability. He is the first to admit that he did not have the best of starts to the competition.
“In our first game against Maties, I only succeeded with one of my goal kick attempts. After the first four games, my success rate was only 70%. I am a firm believer that if you manage to do the small things right that you will be successful. After I sorted out the small glitches in my technique I have been able to make my kicks count. In our last three games I have missed only one attempt,” said De Beer who practices his goal-kicking for an hour each day.
According to De Beer, it is also the FNB Tuks coaching staff’s approach to marginal gains that led to FNB Tuks only losing one game in the Varsity Cup.
“I think we laid the foundation to our success by beating FNB Maties in our first game. That was just the confidence-booster we needed. I think our coach, Pote Human, also deserves credit for his meticulous planning for each game. He has left nothing to chance. Through proper game analysis and tactically planning he ensured that we know exactly what to expect before each game. The camaraderie amongst us players is another important factor in our success.”
FNB Tuks host FNB Maties on Monday 17 April in Pretoria. The match will be live on SuperSport.
By Wilhelm de Swardt