Van As praises Wits' guts

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 14:24
Large hugo van as wits 2017 800

VARSITY CUP REACTION: It was not the most clinical of performances but the fact that they have shown tremendous guts is a pleasing aspect for Wits head coach Hugo van As. Leezil Hendricks reports.

The dark horse Wits kept the reigning champions NWU-Pukke scoreless in the second half to claim a massive 22-13 victory in Potchefstroom.

A Gianni Lombard penalty and conversion, Constant Beckerling try and a late Manuel Rass try sealed an incredible victory for the visitors.

"Very grateful for the victory, it was not pretty but the guys showed huge passion and guts on the evening.

"The first 20 minutes of the second half Pukke really came hard at us and they were 13-7 up, however, our defence stood solid and they lost two or three opportunities. We were trapped in our own 22 for the majority of that time but the guys showed huge guts and defensively credit must go to the team and the defensive coach.

"We knew if we get back in their half we had a chance. We started gaining momentum than the game turned for us in the last quarter of the match," Van As told rugby365.com.

With three games to go in the round robin, vying for a spot in the play-off intensifies. Currently, in the sixth position, a play-off spot do not seem too far fetch for the young and inform Wits side.

"I don’t want to focus on top four now and neither want my team to zoom in on that, I think we have to take one game at the time.

"I feel like from an attacking point of view it was our worst performance which means there is room for improvement.  

"After a win like this we have to keep out feet on the ground and there is a lot of things that need to occur before we can even think of play-offs.

"In this competitions, we witness that any teams can beat anyone, and now we just have to focus on the next match which is against NMMU-Madibaz,"

19-year-old Lombard was given the kicking duties and proved to be worthy of the task in the absence of regular flyhalf and captain Warren Gilbert.

"I am pleased with Gianni Lombard's performance.  He is 19-year-old who plays at full back and we decided we want to give him the number 10 jersey. We are really privileged to have a lot of kicking options and the youth just came through even Wandisile Simelane and Manuel Rass,"

Commenting on the interim captain Constant Beckerling's post-match interview, which has been causing a stir on social media, the coach said: "Beckerling is a very passionate guy and it is all about his heart, he will give his everything for the team.

"He was actuality the stand in captain for Monday. But he has just tremendous passion for his teammates and for the university, it is a true reflection of where we want to go,"

By Leezil Hendricks
@Leezil07
@rugby365.com

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Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
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Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
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VARSITY CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Maties 8 6 2 0 34
NWU-Pukke 8 6 1 1 33
UJ 8 5 1 2 27
Wits 8 4 1 3 25
Shimlas 8 5 0 3 24
UCT-Ikeys 8 4 0 4 21
UP-Tuks 8 2 1 5 15
CUT-Ixias 8 1 0 7 8
NMMU-Madibaz 8 0 0 8 4