On Monday night, FNB UWC came agonisingly close to claiming a historic win against neighbours, FNB UCT, but one too many errors prevented the men from Bellville from making it a memorable night.
A packed UWC Stadium – AKA The Operation Room – experienced what was probably the best and greatest team effort that the home crowd has seen since last year's sensational historic 29-17 win against FNB UJ. Speaking to Lionel Langehoven earlier in the week, the UDubs head coach said that his side will be heading into the Western Cape derby against FNB Maties a lot calmer than the FNB Wits opening fixture.
In that game, former captain and playmaker, Aidynn Cupido, was up against his former teammates and was instrumental in the victory for FNB Wits. Langenhoven believes his men are not making up the numbers and this is a sentiment shared not only by the coaching staff but it filters through the team as well.
Captain Jacques van Zyl claimed that they are not playing to avoid relegation but rather going out to win the competition, a brave statement made by the former Paul Roos player. A few weeks agao it might have been a rather outrageous statement but following their come-from-behind win at FNB Shimlas and Monday's 28-31 narrow defeat, the men from Bellville find themselves in a comfortable mid-table situation after three rounds of rugby.
"We are in this competition and our plan is to win it," van Zyl said a week or two prior to the competition. "We played really well tonight (against FNB UCT) and I am confident the guys can and will be improving even more with the next few games."
Monday night's defeat could be ascribed to the home side not capitilising on their opportunities but there will be a few players that will, during yesterday's video sessions feedback, be kicking themselves when they see the amount of handling and judgement errors made while on attack. It was a class moment of brilliance right at the end from replacement the Ikey Tigers' Strand-based scrumhalf Liam Kloosman which stopped the UWC attack from getting the all-important winning score. Kloosman ankle-tapped Peter Williams right at the end and the right-winger's foot went into touch with time up on the stadium clock.
"I am very proud of how the boys handled and played tonight," Langenhoven said very proud after the match on Monday. "We have a lot of work to do still, but we have covered so much ground already and I am confident in the ability of these players."