The Central University of Technology Ixias will be targeting a fourth win in a row when they face the Nelson Mandela University Madibaz on Thursday afternoon in round two of the 2021 Varsity Cup being played in Pretoria.
The Ixias, who won their last two matches in 2020 before all rugby and the tournament were suspended due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, kicked off their new campaign on a high note with a resounding 46-13 win over the University of Johannesburg on Sunday evening.
The Ixias dominated proceedings with their forwards pack, and their execution was so well that the tighthead prop, Janu Botha, was named as the player of the match.
The team from Bloemfontein made no secret about the fact that this is exactly what they have planned from their second round opponents as well.
The Madibaz fortunes in the opening round were different as they suffered a 47-28 defeat to the North-West University Eagles in their opening game.
Ixias coach, Pieter Bergh, told Bloemfontein Courant that one cannot read too much into the scoreline, but forward domination will be their modus operandi.
“If you look at the Madibaz, it was their first game back in the Varsity Cup for quite a while. Against a tough Eagles team they did lose by 19 points but there are a lot of things that they will take from that game and build on.
“Nothing will change for us this week. We will be looking to put them under pressure in the set-piece and create opportunities for our backs from there.”
The Madibaz coach, André Tredoux, who is no stranger to rugby in the Free State and actually coached several of the current Ixias players, in his turn expects a physical battle up front, and they are geared for the tactic.
“We know that they are going to be physical and they are going to bring the mauls. We will have to front up to that and also get stuck into a few plans that we have for them. They have a good kicking game as well, but we are looking forward to the challenge.
“We have had eight good weeks to prepare for the tournament and hopefully the boys can gel together as a team a bit more.”
This match at Loftus Versfeld will kick off at 15:00, while at 19:00 the Shimlas will tackle the Eagles. At 19:00 on Thursday evening, the UFS Shimlas will be in action against the Eagles in the traditional intervarsity. – MORGAN PIEK