NOW that they have reached the business end of the competition there will be no margin for error when the Madibaz clash with Tuks in a crucial Varsity Cup game in Pretoria tonight (kick-off 7pm).
Madibaz coach David Maidza has conceded that his team are playing “catch-up rugby” after consecutive home defeats saw them slip out of the top four on the log.
Victory over Wits has reignited Madibaz’ hopes, but they will not be able to afford any more slip-ups in their remaining two league matches before the playoffs begin.
After tonight’s game the Madibaz travel to Bloemfontein to face the Shimlas in their final round-robin match next Monday.
In tonight’s other matches, the University of Johannesburg are at home to Maties, the Pukke clash with Wits in Potchefstroom and the Ikeys host the Shimlas in Cape Town.
After five matches the log positions are: Pukke (19), Tuks (16), Ikeys (14), Shimlas (13), Madibaz (13), Maties (12), University of Johannesburg (9), Wits (2).
“It is critical that we go to Pretoria for our game against Tuks with the right mindset and that we play to the best of our ability. A win is critical in this game and there is still a big job to be done,” Maidza said.
“We are in a precarious situation at the moment and we have to play catch-up rugby. Both our remaining games are vital. We have to do the job in this one first … and make sure that we get the necessary points.
“With so many surprise results in the competition, it is critical therefore that we concentrate on improving ourselves,” Maidza said.
Despite a number of handling errors against Wits, he said his side had turned in a gutsy performance and he was pleased with the effort shown under difficult circumstances.
“That’s what you want from a coaching perspective, for the players to try their level best and give it their all. And that’s what we did.”
However, he said there was definite room for improvement in terms of accuracy when they had ball in hand.
“We turned over too many balls. We need to work on our passing and ball carriage and tick those boxes for the coming week.
“The bottom line is we did the job and we look forward to the next game against Tuks now.”
Last Monday, Pukke handed defending champions Tuks their first defeat in the competition to claim top spot on the standings.
Coach Robert du Preez’s team were ruthless in wet conditions in Pretoria as they shut out the home side to claim a convincing 18-0 victory.
The teams are:
Madibaz: Jarryd Buys, Tythan Adams, Michael Bernardt, Andile Jho, Yamkela Ngam, Gavin Hauptfleisch, Daniel Acker, Marcel Groenewald, Stefan Willemse, Christopher Cloete, Cameron Lindsay, Louis Fourie, Dexter Fahey, Jody Reyneke, Roy Godfrey (capt). Replacements: Martin Ferreira, Abongile Mnyaka, Tim Agaba, Wade Elliot, Kayle van Zyl, Devon Lailvaux, Sinakho Mafu, Simon Kerrod
Tuks: Warrick Gelant, Jade Stighling, Dries Swanepoel, Ryan Nell, Kefentse Mahlo, Tian Schoeman, Carlo Engelbrecht, Reniel Hugo (capt), Rudolph Smith, Chris Massyn, Dennis Visser, Irne Herbst, Basil Short, Corniel Els, Juan Schoeman. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Brummer Badenhorst, Jannes Kirsten, Leneve Damens, Emile Temperman, Francois Tredoux, Duncan Matthews, Andrew Beerwinkel – George Byron