It’s been seven years since the FNB NWU Eagles lifted the trophy for the first time and now they are looking to repeat their 2016 feat when they take on the FNB UCT Ikeys in the 2023 FNB Varsity Cup final. Kick-off is scheduled for 19:00 tomorrow at the Fanie Du Toit Sports Ground in Potchefstroom.
Captain Ruan ‘Sampie’ Swiegers says the team gave up a lot to be in the final.
“We’ve had a very good campaign, we did the right things along the way and executed everything perfectly. We gave up a lot in terms of our studies, time and everything has paid off. I’m happy for me, for the team and for everyone involved to be in the final. We deserve it.”
Sampie has also praised the home crowd for the support they’ve shown during the campaign.
“The crowd has been awesome, they give us the extra motivation, the extra energy to give our best. There are moments in the game where things get tough and they help us get over the line.”
According to the captain, it will be the hardest game of their careers.
“It’s a final, that game will be the hardest game all of us have ever played. It’s going to be one of the toughest games in the competition but everyone is hungry for victory and very humble knowing that we still have to do the job.”
Coach Burger van der Westhuizen believes making the jersey expensive worked for his team.
“We have a very competitive team. If you don’t play well, there’s someone else that will take your place. We also showed it against Wits when we made 13 changes to our previous line-up and had a comprehensive victory over them, which shows that the jersey is very expensive.”
Van der Westhuizen also believes weather conditions will make for a different game than the previous encounter between the two teams, which the Eagles won 42-26.
“I don’t expect a similar game, when you go to Cape Town you’re not only planning for your opponents, but you plan according to conditions. We were very fortunate in Cape Town that the wind was mild and not as strong as always.”
Points for: 300
Points against: 164
Top try scorer: Vernon Paulo – 9
Top points scorer: Zinedine Robinson – 64
FNB NWU Eagles: 15 Swanepoel Tino Santino, 14 Windvogel Keano Ricardo, 13 Pretorius Theunis Gerhardus, 12 Phatudi I. S. Vincent Phatudi, 11 Jaarts Naiden, 10 Robinson Zinedine, 9 Hassien Sylvester, 8 Erlank Gustav Zacharias, 7 Bertram Karl-Heinz Henlein, 6 Vermaak Chris, 5 Nel Wihan, 4 Krugel Stephan, 3 Swiegers Ruan (Sampie), 2 Paulo Vernon, 1 du Plessis Ruben.
by Lesiba Dikhoba