Fourie explains how Maties rock the 2019 season
VARSITY CUP AFTERMATH: FNB Maties lived up to their billing as FNB Varsity Cup favourites by easing to a 34-12 win over FNB UP-Tuks in the final on Monday.
In the process ‘The Maroon Machine’ claimed back-to-back titles and, more significantly, a record- extending fifth in the 12 years of the competition.
“It was a tough game but I think we were well prepared,” Maties head coach Hawies Fourie told rugby365 following their triumph.
“We knew what Tuks’ strengths were and had a plan for our team about how to handle that and apply pressure on them.
“The set-piece was important for us. During the previous game in Pretoria they dominated us as scrum time especially, and we lost a few lineouts. So we had to make a few plans on the lineouts, which is why we started the match with four-man lineouts to gain possession and then worked out how we were going to play from there. We switched to five- and six-man lineouts later on once we had the confidence to,”
He added: “I must give credit to the coaches Drikus Hancke [forwards] and Marius Hurter [scrums] who worked with the young guys and helped them believe in themselves… we’ve definitely improved our scrummaging as the season progressed,”
Despite their dominance, head coach Fourie admitted it was a straining season, in particular the first match against Wits.
“We didn’t start off that well against Wits [a 33-17 win at Danie Craven Stadium] but the win against UCT in that wind in Cape Town [66-5] gave the guys a lot of belief to see how they can attack in difficult conditions.
“That’s one of our strengths; to play ball in hand, make the right decisions and put the other team’s defence under pressure. That was the game that gave us the necessary confidence and enabled us to play the brand of rugby we did throughout the competition,”
— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) April 16, 2019
The on-field stars
The mentor praised his players for their performance especially the likes of Chris Smit, who was named the FNB Player that Rocks for the 2019 season.
“If you look across the whole season a guy like Chris Smit deserved the award he got. I can’t even remember one game where he was under-par, he really played very well and was a key player for us in terms of making decisions and running our attack.
“Jordan Chait I think surprised most people, maybe even himself as well. He started the season as the number two, maybe number three, flyhalf but then in the warm-up game Reinhardt Fortuin – who was supposed to be the number one flyhalf – was injured and Jordan grabbed the opportunity and played so well that I couldn’t leave him out from that first match against Wits. He really
grabbed that spot for himself and I’m really glad for him because he was labelled as a player who can’t defend and his attack wasn’t rated that highly either so I’m glad that he came through and he produced in most of the games that he played.
“While in the absence of Momsen (injury) and and Ernst van Rhyn (Stormers duty)the young guys like Dan Jooste who made the hooker position his own and [lock-cum-flank] Ben-Jason Dixon had standout performances. Then, towards the end of the competition, Chris Massyn with his leadership played a big role and especially in the final [for which he won the FNB Player that Rocks award, like he did in the semifinal against UFS Shimlas] he was leading from the front, carrying the ball up effectively over the gainline,”
The driving force
The coach also acknowledge the importance of the Danie Craven Stadium following their 49th win from 57 matches at home.
“The support we have plays a big role in our success. There’s always a good vibe at DC, and I think there’s maybe 5000-6000 who don’t even worry about the rugby that much but are there to party and enjoy themselves.
“We are really privileged to have such a big support base, I think the closest to us from the other universities is Pukke and they can only seat 5500-6000 people in their stadium,” he added.