Squad depth key for FNB Varsity College ahead of UFH clash

Squad depth key for FNB Varsity College ahead of UFH clash

Following their memorable opening FNB Varsity Shield win last week, FNB Varsity College have little time to bask in the glory as they line up the formidable FNB UFH team this Thursday at The IIE’s Varsity College Durban North.

Gerhard Duraan/Varsity Cup

The side has been delt a few injury blows following their win last Friday with props Erich Ortman and Daniel van Huizen both ruled out, with Ortman being sidelined for the rest of the season following surgery on his knee.

FNB Varsity College will also be without Mbasa Nkoni this week who is still in the return to play protocol following a concussion during the opening match last week.

The three injuries sustained give other players an opportunity to come into the side and perform, and for head coach Jeremy McLaren, it’s been a rapid learning curve for him and the squad.

“The one thing that I have learnt very quickly is that the dynamics of this tournament can change very quickly,” McLaren said.

“The whole squad has to be on the same level if you want to succeed. The guys are still fit and firing and we’ve selected another strong side this week.

“We are going to lose a bit of experience and we’ll have to rely on the younger guys but that will be a good test of our squad and it’s depth.”

FNB UFH were strong in their opening round loss to the relegated FNB UP-Tuks, McLaren is well aware of what the men from Alice will bring up the coastline to Durban this week.

“I don’t think the scoreline of the Fort Hare versus Tuks match was a true reflection of the game because I thought that Fort Hare was very physical.

“They are not an easy team to analyse and with the powerful athletes we will have to man-up on Wednesday night.”

FNB Varsity College dominated the set plays against TUT with a number of tries from driving line-outs and scrum penalties. Being on top of this area will be key this week according to the coach.

“We are going to have to be really good at set-piece once again; but with some experienced players out this week we will be tested.

“It’s going to be another brutal encounter I am sure and we’re looking forward to the challenge once again.”

The opening match of the season for The IIE’s Varsity College captured the imagination of the students and the local community with tickets selling out. Despite it being a Thursday night, McLaren is hopeful that the students and the public will be back to support the team this week.

“Last week was such a blessing for us to see that they had to sell extra tickets in order to satisfy the demand for tickets.

“It will be nice to see what the attendance will be like on Thursday and we’re looking forward to another exciting atmosphere around the ground,” McLaren added.

With the injury-enforced changes, this means that Bunono Jabavu and Siyabonga Dube will both come into the starting line-up at loose-head and tight-head prop respectively.

Newcomer, Nathi Ntuli has been added to the bench as prop cover.

Chris Horak will get his first start at fullback in place of the injured Mbasas Nkonki with Cade Latham coming onto the bench as outside back cover.

Kick off at The IIE’s Varsity College Durban North will be at 7pm on Thursday 29 February with tickets selling for R30 and can be purchased at www.varsitycup.co.za

FNB Varsity College v FNB UFH Squad:

1 Bunono Jabavu, 2 Jacques Marais, 3 Siyabonga Dube, 4 Garren Müller, 5 Werner Coetzee, 6 Juan Steyl, 7 Enzo van Niekerk, 8 Mandisi Nkutha, 9 Abande Mthembu (captain), 10 Frederick Marx, 11 Tshegofatso Ramaloko, 12 Michael Ngwenya, 13 Macmillian Mudara, 14 Philani Khoza, 15 Christopher Horak.


16 Thobelani Thandolwethu, 17 Nathi Ntuli, 18 Sonwabo Maseko, 19 Robert Everson, 20 Sinelifa Ncwana, 21 Dallyn Beukes, 22 Benjamin Field, 23 Cade Latham



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