Newbies FNB Varsity College eager to begin life in the Varsity Shield

Newbies FNB Varsity College eager to begin life in the Varsity Shield

The preparations are over and its competition mode for FNB Varsity College who take on FNB TUT in their FNB Varsity Shield opener at The IIE’s Varsity College Durban North on Friday night.

Varsity College Rugby
Gabby Swanepoel/Varsity College

Following their promotion to the Varsity Shield after they beat FNB Rhodes in the play-off match last year, it's been a short but exciting preparation period for the Varsity College side leading into this opening match of the 2024 campaign.

It has been a rigorous campaign in the build-up to this first match of the competition, and going into it coach Jeremy McLaren understands that they have had to sidestep the urge to focus too heavily on their opposition.

"For us, the most important thing was to focus on what our strengths are," McLaren said. "We don't want to focus too much on the other teams although we are aware of what their strengths might be.

"We are just concentrating on what is best for us and what is the best way for us to succeed in this tournament."

A few weeks ago, FNB Varsity College comfortably beat their neighbours, and fellow Varsity Shield side, FNB UKZN in a warm-up match. McLaren was able to take a few key elements from that match to work on going into Friday's opener.

"After that UKZN warm-up match I put the most emphasis on the players maintaining high standards. It doesn't matter who we are playing against we cannot drop our standards.

"Making sure we get back into our defensive lines quickly, and getting our attack shape right were important elements that we wanted to get out of that game.

"The boys have responded really well to the feedback from that match and our training since then has been at a very high level," McLaren added.

Varsity College's opponents FNB TUT were solid in the 2023 edition of the FNB Varsity Shield and will provide a tough initial test for McLaren's side. The coach believes his team will be ready for the challenge.

"You are never too sure how similar teams will look compared to the previous year, but what we do know about TUT is that most of their tries last year came as a result of their line-out maul.

"If they didn't score from the maul they would have sucked in defenders and scored out wide so that will be a strength of theirs. They have also got really good athletes.

"With that said, we want our focus to be on them stopping us and we need to make sure that our direction comes from us and not the opposition," McLaren added.

FNB Varsity College v FNB TUT Squad:

1 Daniel van Huizen, 2 Jacques Marais, 3 Sonwabo Maseko, 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 Mbasa Nkonki,


16 Thobelani Jili, 17 Siyabonga Dube, 18 Erich Ortmann, 19 Robert Everson, 20 Sinelifa Ncwana, 21 Dallyn Beukes, 22 Christopher Horak, 23 Benjamin Field.

Tickets for FNB Varsity College’s opening match of the Varsity Shield are R30 and can be purchased at Kick off in Durban North on Friday night is at 19:00.



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