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CPUT to stay positive despite tough campaign

With only three round-robin games left of the 2024 FNB Varsity Shield competition, FNB CPUT find themselves in unfamiliar territory. The 2023 runners-up have only won one match and are having to hope for a few balls to hop in their favour to make the playoffs.  


But despite being seventh on the log, they are on equal points with fourth-placed FNB WSU whom they will host on 5 April. CPUT will be hoping to get the most log points from their remaining three matches, two of which are away. 


Under the mentorship of head coach Alastair Theys, CPUT won back-to-back Varsity Shield titles in 2019 and 2021 while placing as runners-up in 2022 and 2023.  


They admit this year things have been decidedly different. 


"It has been a tough campaign for us with a lot of challenges, but the boys are in a positive space.  


“We have seen great improvements from just the TUT game to the UFH fixture and despite losing the game against UFH, there are a lot of positives to take from it. One of which is that we are hoping that we can keep on improving and pick up two or three wins, to end off well.  


“It is the first time we find ourselves in this situation, it is unknown territory from which we have been learning. The main thing, however, is that the guys are positive." 


A host of top CPUT players who were prominent in the 2019-2023 period have moved on. This has left Theys, and his experienced assistant coaches Jongikhaya Nokwe and Jerome Paarwater, with virtually a new team.  


Roland van der Heever, currently playing for FNB Maties while completing his honours at Stellenbosch University, was part of a formidable and reliable loose trio combination with Ché Klaasen and former captain Keanan Solomons. At the back, fullback Caine Stadler, nippy scrumhalf Hugan Engelbrecht and speedster Heinrico Hartogh have all left massive gaps.  


Ahead of the 2024 season Theys said that the current crop of players is very young and that the team will need to build strong combinations, gain experience, and have that team chemistry that only comes from playing together for a few seasons. 



by Lyndon Julius 

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