Defending champions Steinhoff Mopanie will not have the opportunity to defend their Steinhoff Koshuis Championship title as they failed to reach the final.
Steinhoff Mopanie got their season off to a good start when they beat UCT’s Steinhoff Tornadoes but lost comprehensively to Steinhoff Patria (NWU-Pukke) and last year’s finalists Steinhoff Vishuis (UFS).
Steinhoff Mopanie bounced back to defeat CUT’s Steinhoff Rhinos but it was a case of too little too late.
Steinhoff Mopanie head coach, Barend Kirsten, is disappointed that his team is out but believes his young players have learnt a lot.
“To put it plainly, my guys were just too inexperienced. I had three under-19 players and a whole bunch of second years. We were just too green, especially our forward pack,” said Kirsten.
“The guys buckled under pressure especially against Patria and Vishuis where we couldn’t get any good ball from our set phases. But if this team can stick together and grow then they can be champions again,” he added.
Kirsten is adamant that the student disruptions played a crucial role in his team’s campaign as well as dealing with injuries because of the congested season.
“The disruptions proved to be a nuisance for our preparations. The constant feeling of uncertainty meant the guys could not focus properly. We suffered from a lot of injuries because of the congested matches. But in the end the other teams had the same issues, we just did not step up,” explained Kirsten.
Steinhoff Mopanie will now turn their attention to the University of Pretoria’s Koshuis league, which they will attempt to win so that they can return for next year’s Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby Championship.
By Dan Lombard