Williams reflects on UWC's historic win
REACTION: For the first six weeks of this year’s FNB Varsity Cup FNB UWC fulfilled the doubters’ prophecies, but then Monday happened.
UWC may have won back-to-back FNB Varsity Shield titles in 2017 and 2018 to earn promotion, but the step up in level was always going to be a stern test for Chester Williams and his players. So it proved when the ‘Bushies’ lost their opening five matches this season; but on Monday they combined everything they’ve learned to beat FNB UJ 29-17.
“A feeling of relief knowing that players have the potential to play at [FNB] Varsity Cup level makes me excited,” Williams told www.varsitycup.co.za while reflecting on an historic evening in Bellville.
Williams has been in charge of UWC since 2016 and previously only seen success, so the start of their debut Varsity Cup campaign may have sown some doubt in the iconic Springbok’s mind. However, he and his assistants Lionel Langenhoven and Bolla Conradie backed their game plan to work when their players fixed their on-field disciplinary issues.
“I’m happy with the way we’ve played, even though I know that there is room for improvement,” Williams said.
“Game management is important, as we tend to chase the game when we are in control and have the momentum.”
In that regard, Aidynn Cupido answered his coach’s call. The flyhalf scored the opening try, and slotted three conversions as well as a penalty to earn the FNB Player that Rocks award. For his part, No. 8 and captain Adrian Paarwater also sensed Monday would be special.
“The vibe was up and there was positive energy pre-match,” he told UWC Media. “Once we saw the odds were in our favour the boys were extremely proud to be Bushies and we will take this momentum into our next game.”
By winning their first Varsity Cup match UWC have also broken the promoted team ‘hoodoo’. On the previous occasions when a team has been elevated from the Varsity Shield for the first time, namely Wits in 2013 and CUT Ixias in 2015, they’ve gone through their debut Varsity Cup campaign winless. This will, also, only be the second year in Varsity Cup history (matching 2011) when all the teams have won at least one match.
UWC – who remain at the bottom of the table on five points – will next travel to Johannesburg to face FNB Wits in Round 8. They will then close their campaign against four-time champions, FNB Maties at their Danie Craven Stadium fortress.