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FNB Maties team preview with captain Gift Dlamini

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

With a veteran coaching staff, experienced senior players and the Fortress Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch behind them, FNB Maties are looking to reclaim the FNB Varsity Cup crown in 2023.

2022 results: Played: 9, Won: 7, Lost: 2, Log position: 3rd/ Lost to FNB UP-Tuks in final (23-29)

The masterstroke of appointing Proudfoot sees the Maties setup bolstered by someone who has walked the walk and can talk the talk. Coach Matt, as he is referred to by the players, has coached and played at every level - Springboks, England, Western Province, Stormers and Kobelco Steelers.

Captain Gift Dlamini, who is leading the men in maroon for a second year, is hungry to reclaim the title in his final year playing in the Varsity Cup.

“Words can't express how grateful I am for this opportunity and to be in this (leadership) position,” says Dlamini. “Five years ago, I was struggling to make the team and now I am very privileged to lead this group of special players.”

Dlamini couldn't contain his excitement about working with Proudfoot and getting a taste of what it is like in the big leagues. This will serve the team well going into what is always a tough campaign against the top universities in South Africa.

“The way coach Matt has driven us has been unbelievable and we were getting better by the day!” says Dlamini.

Dlamini will be assisted by vice-captain Jurie Matthee, who will be pulling the strings from the flyhalf position, with flanker De Wet Marais, lock Matthew Grey and centre Aydon Topley also being in the leadership group.

This means that there are experienced heads in vital positions and the team will be well served in terms of decision-making and composure.

“We have tactical leaders, we have inspirational leaders, so we are very well balanced in terms of leadership,” says Dlamini.


by Dorfling Terblanche

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