One of biggest mistakes made during the season leading up to Monday’s Varsity Cup final between FNB Tuks and FNB Maties, was to miss tackling Sibahle Maxwane when he had the ball in hand.
On more than one occasion the FNB Tuks left-winger was the man who changed the status quo when he jinxed his way past several defenders to score a try. In the last four games he scored seven tries. He made it clear that he won’t mind adding to his tally against FNB Maties at the Tuks Stadium. For him there is no bigger thrill than to outsmart his opponents with a classic “in-and-out” sidestep.
Although there are many who think making bold predictions is tempting fate, Maxwane believes that his team has the ability to beat FNB Maties to clinch a third Varsity Cup title.
“One of the reasons why we made it through to the final is our camaraderie,” he said. “When we take to the field it is a classic scenario of one for all and all for one.”
Maxwane made his debut for FNB Tuks in this year’s edition of Varsity Cup, but last year he was in the Western Province doing what he does best – scoring tries. While playing for the provincial under-21 team he managed to dot down five times. He also scored two tries for Western Province during Currie Cup qualification. Maxwane considers the try that he scored in the under-21 final against the Lions as his best.
“Our scrumhalf broke away from the blindside of the scrum on the halfway line and then passed the ball to me. It was a classic one-on-one situation. I managed to sidestep my opponent and sprinted to the line to score. It was brilliant,” said Maxwane.
FNB Tuks managed to beat FNB Maties 13-9 in their first Varsity Cup encounter for 2017 and lost only one game in this year’s campaign. It was against the University of Johannesburg (18-17). The “Stripe Generation” scored the most tries in the competition and conceded the fewest.
Pote Human, FNB UP-Tuks head coach, made it clear that statistics mean nothing. What has happened remains in the past.
“[On Monday] when we take to the field it is a new game with new challenges. Maties is too good to ever underestimate. If we lose the final all our good performances in the build-up to the final will be undone,” said Human who credits his player’s fitness and prowess on defence as the key to their success in 2017.
FNB Tuks face FNB Maties at 19:00 on Monday 17 April at Tuks Stadium in the Varsity Cup final.
By Wilhelm de Swardt