On a night where FNB UWC absolutely dominated their opponents, there were a number of brilliant individual performances that certainly raised eyebrows. Considering the number of changes in the starting 15, the coach will surely be having some headaches as well when it comes to selection.
The Cape side were without regular central pairing partnership of Aidynn Cupido and Michaine Fick, whom they had lost through injury. The coach would have been very pleased with the performances of the two centres who took to the field and slotted in comfortably against FNB Rhodes. The FNB UWC backline also saw Jacquin Moses start for the first time on the wing in place of the scintillating Kurt-Lee Arendse who came on off the bench to record his first Varsity Shield hat-trick.
Also new to the starting 15 was the diminutive Herschel Jantjies who definitely raised his hand with his Monday night performance. The man from Stellenbosch started only his first game of the tournament and helped himself to two well worked tries and an overall performance that earned him the FNB Player That Rocks accolade. Although he welcomed the recognition, he was happier about the team’s victory on the night.
“The victory added to our belief and was a real confidence booster for us. We have been working really hard and it was pleasing to see our hard work pay off in that manner,” he said.
After the defeat at FNB UFH in the previous week, it was always going to be a matter of how the team would respond when they returned home, and they responded emphatically. Jantjies believes that their young squad is slowly getting used to the occasion and are looking to pick up momentum at the right time.
He states that: “We have a very young and inexperienced team and it showed in the first two games where we found ourselves leading, only to later relinquish that lead and play under pressure. I think we were a bit overwhelmed at the beginning but we will have gained some confidence from our victory on Monday and we aim to keep focus and work towards more victories in the tournament.”
It will be very important for FNB UWC to not get carried away after their previous result if they are to seriously contend for the Varsity Shield title which is what all the players are ultimately playing for.
“Our victory against FNB Rhodes does not make us champions. However, as a team our goal is to be champions. We are winners in this team and we will fight to reach our goal. I strongly believe that to play good rugby you need to enjoy it. If we focus on the job at hand and take each game as it comes, we can achieve great things this year,” concluded Jantjies. The Bushies (FNB UWC) have found a gem in 20-year-old Jantjies and will be hoping he can replicate his “FNB Player That Rocks” performance and aid his team to more victories in future.
By Thulani Mkosi