Ixias brace for Maties showdown

Tiaan Erasmus charges forward for CUT Ixias during their Varsity Cup match against the Madibaz
Picture: Varsity Cup

After their exciting win over the Madibaz, CUT Ixias are bracing for a tough showdown against the table-topping Maties in Stellenbosch on Monday.

It was a vital win for the Ixias side, who in previous years have been the whipping boys of the competition and ended bottom of the log last year.

Last year, Ixias lost all eight matches they played, and had been expected to be one of the candidates for relegation this season,

However, with the Madibaz losing both their opening matches, Ixias are no longer in their familiar position at the foot of the table.

After losing to Ikey Tigers and Ixias in their opening games, the Madibaz will be anxious to get their campaign up and running when they face Wits on Monday.

Ixias coach Tiaan Liebenberg said his side would not get carried away after beating NMU 38-37 for their first win of the season and second in Varsity Cup history.

Ixias edged the Madibaz thanks to two tries from hooker Tiaan Erasmus and a late seven-point try from scrumhalf Ruben Heymans.

“I don’t think I need to do much to ensure that the guys do not get carried away, especially seeing as though we only won by one point,” Liebenberg said.

“I would be more worried if we had won by 20 or 30 points. The fact we only won by one point shows that we still have quite a lot to work on.”

Liebenberg said his team had paid special attention to improving their game management after their losses to Pukke and UJ in the opening rounds of the competition.

“In the game against UJ we did well in the first half and led at half time, but then got a yellow card in the second half and conceded 27 points from there.

“So we have really worked on staying in the moment and cutting down the number of errors we make.

“We still made a lot of errors against the Madibaz, so I don’t think we will be getting ahead of ourselves. There is obviously a hell of a lot of hard work ahead.

“To go and play Maties in Stellenbosch is going to be a massive challenge.”

Ahead of their game against Wits, Madibaz captain Riaan Esterhuizen said: “We made crucial mistakes in crucial areas against Ixias and we just could not finish off our attack plays.

“We cannot afford two yellow cards each game. We need to fix our discipline.”

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