UJ stay clear of semifinal talk

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:04
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VARSITY CUP REACTION: Despite being third on the log and on a four-game winning streak, UJ head coach Werner Janse van Rensburg will only start talking semifinals after Monday's challenge against the inform Wits.

UJ had an unbearable start to their Varsity Cup campaign. The Johannesburg-based side suffered two consecutive defeats at the hands of NWU-Pukke and NMMU-Madibaz, respectively.

Janse van Rensburg's troops overturned their misfortunes and bounced back in style with four consecutive wins. The first win came against UP-Tuks on February 20, while UCT-Ikey Tigers became their latest victims.

The UJ mentor Janse van Rensburg revealed to rugby365.com how valuable a winning streak is in a crucial competition like the Varsity Cup.

"I am pleased with the [40-12 win against UCT]. We had some good things happen to us along this journey, winning four in a row is not easy, especially in this type of competition - you need a solid run.

"With the start of the campaign we took some knocks. Particularly going up against the likes of NWU-Pukke and Shimlas with a new group of players – some making their debut - will always be tough and intimidating.

"Since then the players have gained more experience. Now they seem more comfortable and confidence, not only as an individual but as a team as well.

"I think the turning point could have derived from that Tuks’ result not sure but to realise that you have beaten a former Varsity Cup champion gave the guys that extra moral boost," Van Rensburg said.

UJ are currently third on the log and will face Wits next in the Johannesburg derby. A win could enhance their chances of a semifinal place, especially with their last fixture against the mighty Maties.

"Semifinal does become a more realistic objection, but we are not talking about that now. We still have some huge challenges like Wits and Maties.

"It will be great if we get a positive result against Wits, it will just mean you wrap it up a week earlier instead of waiting for the last week.

“However, with that being said there is a lot of uncertainties when it comes to this competition. For me, the logical thing is to take it Monday by Monday. We might not even be in semifinal contingents heading into the last game against Maties, so we just should look at what’s next - which is Wits first.

"It’s a derby and both teams are in the Cup, so it’s going to be a good occasion. Wits are confident, they got a couple of good results behind them and a firm belief but so do we.

"My focus is more on us, and how we going to build on what we have done and that is the most important thing and if we can take another step ahead it would be good.

"Come Monday - if we in the semifinal it is good, if not – we will carry on from there," he added.   

By: Leezil Hendricks


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Connacht v Edinburgh 22 | 29
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Mon, 19 March 2018
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 23 | 30
Wits v NWU-Pukke 31 | 35
Shimlas v NMMU-Madibaz 28 | 22
UP-Tuks v UJ 30 | 30
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Team P W D L Pts
Maties 7 6 1 0 31
NWU-Pukke 7 6 0 1 30
Wits 8 4 1 3 25
UJ 7 4 1 2 23
UCT-Ikeys 7 4 0 3 20
Shimlas 7 4 0 3 19
UP-Tuks 7 1 1 5 10
CUT-Ixias 7 1 0 6 7
NMMU-Madibaz 7 0 0 7 4