UWC set sights on VC promotions
VARSITY SHIELD REACTION: Just a day after their superb 45-2 victory over Fort Hare, the 2017 Shield Champions UWC shift their focus to next year's Varsity Cup promotions/relegations round. Leezil Hendricks reports
Third time's a charm proved to be true in the case of UWC as the class of 2017 did what their predecessors, in 2013 and 2016, failed to do.
Chester Williams' chargers headed into the Final as clear favourites and soon took control of proceedings as they dominated the opening 40 minutes to take a 21-0 lead at the break.
"I am extremely proud of the boys, the win means so much to them and the staff.
"Despite taking a 21-0 lead at the break, I knew we still had a mammoth task at hand and I had to keep them focus.
"Leading 21-0 at halftime in a Final is nothing, I urged them the to get more territorial and possession, and it the end the boys did good," Williams told rugby365.com.
Being a World Cup winner himself, the mentor completely relates to the sense of achievements. However, he does not dwell on celebrating too much as he shifts his focus to next year Varsity Cup promotion/relegation round.
The coach believes that his side has the mental toughness to get promoted to the Varsity Cup tournament next year especially with their structures in place and psychologist working with the side.
"The first season is gone and now we have to focus on getting that Varsity Cup promotion,"
"I know it is going be a little difficult with that hanging over our heads but I am sure the guys have the mental toughness to overcome it.
"We have a great phycologist team helping us and keeping the boys focus on the two-year plan which we set for ourselves," he added.
With the 20-year-old captain Aidynn Cupido and the side's average age of 21-years-old, Williams has the privilege of retaining most of his players for the 2018 season.
Daniel Bock and Roderick Moses are the only two players not returning to the team under rule 4 of Varsity Cup competition.
"The core of the side remains the same, but we are bidding farewell to Bock and Moses. Bock is turning 26-years-old while Moses is graduating in 2017," Williams said.
Based on the 2016 Varsity Cup promotion/relegation criteria, ending on top of the log after the round-robin phase will automatically earn the team a promotion to the Varsity Cup - despite not being crowned champions in the final.
However with the constant innovation and recreation of the tournaments, one would only know the structure of the promotion/relegation next year.
One thing is certain if we indeed sit with the same promotion/relegations criteria, next year's Shield final would be a far cry from the one experienced on April 10 at the UWC Stadium.
By Leezil Hendricks