University of Johannesburg rugby coach Werner Janse van Rensburg is not getting carried away by his team's results despite an impressive turnaround in the Varsity Cup. After losing the first two matches, UJ have put themselves back into contention for the play-offs with three wins on the trot. Their most recent result saw them hold off a strong challenge from NMMU-Madibaz, with wing Aphiwe Dyanti earning the Player That Rocks award. They will be aiming to continue that form against UCT in Cape Town on Monday, but Janse van Rensburg said they knew there were no guarantees. "It's very simple to keep our feet on the ground because the history of this competition has shown that any team can win on any given Monday," the UJ mentor said. "So our wins in the last three weeks will mean nothing to UCT in their preparations as they will believe that they can win. "As it is an away game nothing but our best will be good enough to get us over the line. Ikeys have ample fighting spirit and Monday will be no different." Janse van Rensburg added they would not be looking too far ahead in the competition. "For instance, our focus now is just to be as good as we can in our next training session in preparation for the match." He said the victories they had achieved after their slow start had instilled a sense of self-belief in the squad. "We have been growing as a team and had some luck, but ultimately we have executed our skills more accurately and been more consistent. "The momentum we have gained has helped because confidence in the system is slowly spreading to everyone in the team." The UJ coach said he had adopted a sense of realism in his coaching philosophy, understanding that you could not win all the time. "The first reality is that you will lose at some stage," he said. "It has not been a case of doubting, but rather understanding where we are as a new team and trying to learn from our mistakes. "The quicker this happened the . . .
Coach Zane Bosch wants to see an improved defence from the FNB NMMU-Madibaz Young Guns in their crucial Varsity Cup rugby encounter against UCT on the NMMU B field on Monday. With only one match under their belts - an opening loss to Stellenbosch - the Madibaz have had precious little game time this season, but Bosch said it had given them an opportunity to work on their skills. "Unfortunately, we got off to a bit of a late start and only had three weeks of preparation before the Maties game," said the Madibaz coach. He pointed out that Stellenbosch were a powerful unit with several SA Schools players in their ranks and that they had taken some positives from the match. "We did well in our lineouts and scrums and were good with the ball in hand, but our defence was lacking. "However, that was our first game and we have put in a lot of work in that department. We have also been working hard on our skills over the past three weeks." Following the 79-20 defeat, he said victory would be crucial against Ikeys on Monday as the three pool winners, plus the best-placed second team from the pools, would qualify for the semifinals. "We have to try to beat UCT and target a bonus point as well. They won the U21 league in Cape Town last year, so it won't be easy." He explained that Madibaz had been grouped in a pool with Maties and Ikeys, playing each team in home and away matches. "After Monday's game we travel to Cape Town for the return match against UCT and then finish off against Maties at home two weeks later." Ikeys have lost both their matches to Maties, who are sure to qualify for the semifinals as the pool winners. Bosch said a few players released from the senior Varsity Cup squad would bolster their team for the Ikeys encounter. "We also have players like Michael Botha, a real talent from Selborne College, who can make a big impact. He can play fullback or flyhalf, while lock Ruben le Roux and prop Sandi Msengana will be other key . . .
Madibaz sevens rugby star Eloise Webb will get another opportunity to display her skills at the highest level when she jets off to the Vancouver Rugby Festival this week. The third-year education student at NMMU in Port Elizabeth will make her second appearance for South Africa in the Canadian tournament, which takes place from March 9 to 10. The East London born player made her debut against Australia in the Dubai leg of the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series in December. Although the South Africans suffered a 38-5 loss, the young flyhalf said the experience boosted her confidence. "My mentality as a player changed because I realised that we are capable of playing against teams that we normally only see on television," she said. "We finished eighth after losing to New Zealand in the quarterfinals, but for a team that was only there by invitation and not one of the core teams, we felt it was an excellent result." Webb explained that eleven regular teams and one qualifier compete in each leg of the world series to make up the full complement of 12. In April, the team will head to Hong Kong for the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series qualifier, where the winners will qualify as one of the core teams for the 2017/2018 series and also earn an entry into the final event in France this June. Webb said the team had been training hard to improve their fitness and overall skills. "We train three times a day and each day consists of two field sessions and gym. Our focus is not only on individual skills, but on the team as a whole." Despite only getting the better of the United States in their six matches in Dubai, Webb believed their progress would be evident in the coming weeks. "I feel that we have worked hard and if we carry this forward we should do well." She said their 26-7 victory over the US was something positive to focus on in future matches. "It shows that we are capable of competing against top teams on the world circuit - we . . .
The University of Johannesburg gave themselves hope for the future when they registered a morale-boosting win over northern rivals UP-Tuks in a thrilling Varsity Cup rugby encounter in Johannesburg on Monday. The home team shrugged off successive losses to NWU-Pukke and Free State for their first win of the season and it will provide motivation for them to continue to show progress. Flyhalf Divan Nel was named the Player That Rocks after kicking six penalties to give his team a narrow 18-17 win. Tuks had a chance to win the match after scoring a try in the dying seconds of the game, only for the conversion to go wide. Coach Werner Janse van Rensburg was delighted with the team's effort as it was UJ's first victory over Tuks in the Varsity Cup since 2010. "What impressed me is the character the players showed," he said. "There was a lot of pressure on them after losing the first two games and they had received much criticism. Overcoming this, along with the home crowd support, was very satisfying to see." Although Tuks have dominated matches between the two sides in recent years, Janse van Rensburg said they had focused on improving a number of aspects in their play from the first two games. "We knew if we could do this and gain some momentum, we would be in with a chance. "Our defence, the urgency shown by the players to contribute throughout the game and the protection of the ball, especially when we were a man down, were important factors in achieving the win." Following their earlier setbacks, Janse van Rensburg said they had focused on a number of aspects. "We needed better composure to cut down the error rate and, overall, for the players to serve the team and not themselves." He added it was difficult to single out any players on the night because "I think everyone made a huge step up in their attitude". The UJ mentor said he would be looking for better discipline from his players in their remaining matches. "Our . . .
FNB NMMU-Madibaz skipper Kevin Kaba is banking on his team's "never-say-die" attitude to help them overcome a tough period after two successive losses in the FNB Varsity Cup rugby competition. The Port Elizabeth university have faced formidable opponents in NWU-Pukke and UP-Tuks in their last two matches, but Kaba is determined to encourage his teammates to play to their potential. They face another demanding encounter when they take on Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch on Monday. "It's been tough going down in the previous two games, especially in the manner in which we did," said Kaba as he looked back on their season so far. "But the team realise that these things are part of the game and we need to get ourselves back to the level we know we're capable of playing at." Despite the setbacks after a fine opening win over UCT, Kaba said he had been encouraged by the team's approach to their matches. "The guys' commitment and an attitude of always playing to the final whistle have been big positives and something that can't really be coached." The eighth man, who was the Player That Rocks in the UCT game, said they had already learnt some valuable lessons following the first three rounds of Varsity Cup action. "The main one has been how big a difference the so-called small things can make on the field. "For example, guys sticking to their roles on attack and being disciplined on defence are the sorts of things we realise we have to execute more effectively." He added they would place a strong focus on adhering to their roles, as well as aiming for better ball retention. "We knew how tough the competition would be before we started, but we just have to stick to our plans and work from there." Kaba said a number of players had stood out so far, but he stressed that their main focus was to deliver consistently good team performances. Looking ahead to Monday's clash against Maties, he said they knew they would have to be . . .
FNB NMMU-Madibaz coach David Maidza wants his team to execute their game plan more efficiently when they run out in Pretoria on Monday to tackle University of Pretoria in their FNB Varsity Cup rugby game. After a strong performance in their opening match against UCT, the Madibaz came up short against defending champions NWU-Pukke in Potchefstroom this week, losing 37-7. Maidza said the disappointment after the game was evident in the silence in the bus on the trip back to Johannesburg, but he added they were not disillusioned and were determined to improve against Tuks. "Having had a look at the game again, the young men know that they could have executed our gameplan better," he said. "I felt at times we did not handle the pressure well but we know that most of the situations are things we can control and fix for the next game." The Madibaz coach said he was particularly pleased that the team never gave up against Pukke. "That is credit to them for showing good character to play until the end." Maidza said they knew they were facing a good side in Pukke and that the number of turnovers they conceded counted against them. "We were disappointed in that we did not control the possession we had and, of course, Pukke were going to take full advantage of these errors." He said he was confident the players would continue to work for each other, knowing that they could improve on their performance. "The spirit is really good," said Maidza. "I can easily say that this is a group who want to achieve their best this year on the rugby field." He acknowledged that Tuks would be another big challenge on Monday and said the team would be focused on implementing their strategy much better. "We agreed that we did not execute our gameplan well. That started with our set-pieces which led to us not having a good launching pad. "Furthermore we gave away too much ball in the amount of decision-making errors we made. "We need to have better focus . . .
During its rugby world cup debut, gaming app Retro Rugby took the sporting world by storm, causing more competitiveness than a real-life match, between office mates and pub pals across the nation. Now, the vintage – and super addictive – game returns to celebrate the Six Nations and is a must for any rugby fan around the world. Using a simple swipe gesture, users control the attacking player to navigate the field – avoid clashing with defenders and posts, to score a try. As the user progresses, the timer counts down and the defenders become more active to make for exciting and addictive gameplay. There’s no better time, than half time to put your skills to the test and swipe your way up the leader board to glory. Select your team colours to support your nation and gear up to win the cup for your country. Gain all the excitement previous Six Nations tournaments have provided, such as England’s tense 25-21 victory over Wales in 2016, to round off the Triple Crown and become tournament winners! All we can predict for this year is that Retro Rugby will keep the excitement going after the 80 minutes are over. To download Retro Rugby, visit the App Store or for android devices download the game via Google Play. For further information about the game, visit www.brighthouse.co.uk/retro-rugby. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
International Rugby star David Pocock of Australia, will kick off his six-month sabbatical in South Africa next week (Friday February 3, 2017), joining newly established conservation organization WildArk to announce the acquisition of its first wildlife conservancy, in partnership with EcoTraining, Africa’s leading guide training organization. Pocock, who is an ambassador for WildArk, will join Australian founders’ Mark and Sophie Hutchinson of Sydney and EcoTraining Managing Director Anton Lategan of South Africa, on the company's first property, known as ‘Pridelands’. WildArk is committed to securing parts of identified green belts around the world and is working with leading environmental scientists to restore, manage and protect the rich biodiversity of these areas as a way of conserving wildlife. At 4,500 acres, Pridelands, a former hunting farm, presents a magnificent example of intact vegetation of Combretum woodland. “This is a fantastic step for our organization, and I’m incredibly proud to realise our first conservancy for African wildlife,” said WildArk founder Mark Hutchinson. “The partnership with our close colleagues at EcoTraining, will help build ecologically sound restoration of habitat, open another 4,500 acres into a greater conservancy that includes state owned, private and community areas, allow freedom of wildlife movement and provide local job creation. It is hopefully the first of many WildArk conservancies that adjoin existing networks of private, state or community-owned conservation areas.” Lategan, a passionate advocate for conservation in Southern Africa, also realised a 20-year personal dream in the acquisition of Pridelands. “Our desire is to restore the farm to migrational and residential wildlife such as lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo. The property already has general plains game, leopard and hyena – with excellent cheetah sightings and reports that lions came through the fence briefly!” Lategan said. Anton’s . . .
FNB NMMU-Madibaz captain Kevin Kaba believes the right attitude will go a long towards making his team competitive when the FNB Varsity Cup gets under way on Monday. The 22-year-old loose forward, who was born in Ghana but grew up in Queenstown, will be at the forefront of the Madibaz's bid to make an impact in the popular tournament. After a tough season last year, the Port Elizabeth outfit kick off their campaign against UCT in Cape Town, knowing that no teams can be taken lightly. "We need to pitch up with the right frame of mind to all our games, whether we are facing the ‘bigger' or ‘smaller' universities," said Kaba. He said they would be looking to improve their performances by not putting themselves under pressure. "We tend to do that at times, but we need to make sure we go out there with cool heads and try to keep calm when the heat is on." Kaba, who will start the season at eighth man, said the team's strength was their willingness to maintain an attacking approach. "We are a team who like to run with the ball. Most of the squad have played together before so we have a good understanding of each other." Having learnt the game in the icy conditions of winters spent at Queen's College, Kaba said he was used to the demanding tests rugby could throw at you and was looking forward to his leadership role with the Madibaz. "It's an exciting challenge," said the third-year accounting student. "Dealing with the different personalities in the team and getting to know everyone will help me to grow as a person and leader." He was also positive about the team's prospects. "I definitely think the squad can make our fans proud this year. We have worked hard and just need to focus on executing our plans out there." Due to renovations at the Madibaz Stadium, the NMMU side will play all their games away this season, leaving them without the benefit of home support. "We have accepted that we will be playing all our games away," said . . .
Having lost a number of senior players, the University of Johannesburg will make a fresh start when the popular FNB Varsity Cup competition kicks off on Monday. Under the guidance of head coach Werner Janse van Rensburg and captain Jannes Snyman, UJ will have a tough opener in Johannesburg against defending champions North-West University. While they have a number of new faces in their squad, Janse van Rensburg said they were motivated to be the best they could be "in the challenging circumstances that the Varsity Cup brings". "We are at the start of a new cycle, having lost quite a few senior players who have been involved over the last four years due to them completing their degrees," he said. "We have two new senior additions to our team in centre Sipho Phiri and flyhalf Ewan Adams, along with some young players who will form the greater part of our squad, which will help them gain experience for future Varsity Cup competitions. "The squad is completed by a few stalwarts who have been with us for the last few years." The UJ mentor said their challenge would be to maintain a strong sense of self-belief. "We know we have to handle whatever comes our way in terms of the opposition and the attention on you during this competition. "The test for our players will be to keep believing in what we are doing and knowing that it is good enough to get results." Janse van Rensburg said the squad, who began preparations for the competition last year, were full of excitement as the opening game approached. "There are also some nerves but the guys are looking forward to what this experience will bring. We can't wait to get going as it is a fantastic competition to play in." After initial strength and conditioning phases in October, the squad continued their preparations from late November to mid-December before a break until January 3. "We have had some good contributions in friendly matches against University of Pretoria and Wits," said Janse . . .