Bloemfontein – The UFS-Shimlas will look to take the positives out of their 13-13 draw against Maties heading into their match against the Ikeys Tigers on Monday.
Although drawing to the three-time champions at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday evening was a result neither of the two were hoping for, the Shimlas feel it was good preparation for their match against the University of Cape Town at the ever tricky Green Mile.
“It was a great preparation for going down to Cape Town again to play against the Ikeys. The wind was quite severe,” said coach Michael Horak.
“I thought the boys showed a lot of character, guts and determination to hold on to a draw, although we got a penalty after the hooter sounded, which we narrowly missed. It’s actually a bitter-sweet taste,” he added.
Although the Cape Town Ikeys are past champions, thanks largely to the contribution of the current Stormers’ halfback combination of Nic Groom and Demetri Catrakilis back in 2011, the side blows hot and cold.
The men from Bloemfontein are well aware of the fact that their opponents can beat any team on any given day, but don’t see that as challenge in their preparations.
“Our preparations never actually focus on the opposition, we try to improve on what we’ve done throughout the season and execute goals we’ve set for ourselves,” said Horak.
“It’s difficult – Ikeys are a though proposition down there, they do blow hot and cold, but I think that if we do the things we want to do well, we’ll end up with a good result,” he added.
Shimlas are happy with their defence over the last two weeks following the big win against UJ in Bloemfontein and their recent draw, however, there is always room for improvement.
The two things the team will be focusing on ahead of the game will be their lineouts and set pieces.
“Lineouts and set pieces are always a challenge in the difficult conditions, so we just want to touch on that a little bit,” said Horak.
“The second thing we want to do is show a little bit more adventure on attack, especially against the wind. We want to give a good account of ourselves,” he added.
He went on to say: “It’s just about game management, the guys are pretty happy with the ideas we’ve got planned and with what he have on the table, so we just want to go down there and execute.”
The only injury concern for Horak’s charges is that of the highly impressive fullback Ludwig Erasmus who sustained a concussion against the side from Stellenbosch. Up until this morning he stood a 60% chance of playing due to the strict concussion protocol, however, it’s has been confirmed he will miss that match.
Apart from Erasmus being ruled out, a few positional changes have been made to the side. Gouws Prinsloo moves to fullback, while the exciting Pieter-Steyn de Wet partners Kevin Luiters in the halfback combination.
Horak said: “We’re going to go with more or less the same squad, we’re happy with what we’ve got and the boys merit another opportunity in the starting lineup and 23.”
UFS-Shimlas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Maphuta Dolo, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Divandre Strydom, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Justin Pappin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Franco van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Markus Odendaal, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Johan van der Hoogt, 19 Neill Jordaan, 20 Kay-Kay Hlongwane, 21 Francois du Toit, 22 Sethu Tom, 23 Gideon Bruwer.
Date: Monday, March 10
Venue: UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town
Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Quinton Immelman.
– Varsity Cup