FNB Varsity Cup
FNB NWU Eagles captain Sampie Swiegers looks ahead to his team’s must-win match against FNB Wits in Potchefstroom on Monday and reflects on their season so far.
How’s the team feeling ahead of Monday’s match? The mood is positive. We need to get five log points to stand a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals and need everything to go our way in other fixtures. We hope Tuks lose to UJ. Even a draw between the two teams will be enough for us provided we turn it on against Wits.
What are you expecting from FNB Wits? We’re expecting a running game from them. They like to run the ball and they’re also physical. They like carrying the ball with their hard runners, which makes them tough to play against. I’m looking forward to tackling a couple of guys and as a team we’ll be looking to dominate them.
How have your preparations gone for the game? We haven’t changed anything. We’ll stick to our game plan which we’ve employed throughout the campaign. We’ve had massive results against big teams like Shimlas and Tuks, so we’ll employ similar strategies and try to win by a big margin.
Have the FNB NWU Eagles achieved their goals for the campaign so far? Yes, I believe so. At the start of the season, we said we wanted to play as well as we can and we’ve managed that in the last few games. We’ve put in 80-minute performances and were able to stay focused, especially in the second half of games. Individually, we’ve grown a lot as players. There are a lot of guys who struggled in the first few games but now they are probably playing the best rugby of their lives. As a team, we’ve grown a lot in terms of our culture. We’ve really stuck together and I think that’s one of the reasons we were able to bounce back from the first few defeats. I think we have the best team culture since I’ve been here so we hope to carry it into the next campaign.
What’s been the biggest disappointment for the team? Besides our slow start to the season, we haven’t managed to convert the chances we’ve created. We have also conceded points which we shouldn’t have, but the best way to learn is from our mistakes. Hopefully on Monday we can take all the chances we create and put up a big score.
How do you keep the team calm during a difficult period in a game? When we concede a try, we stand behind our posts, get everyone calm and get our breathing under control using the techniques we learned from training.
How important is it for the players to have the right attitude? It plays a vital part. Players had a lot of doubts when we couldn’t get the desired results but we had an open session where we discussed how we felt. The confidence then kicked in and we started to believe. I don’t think we’ve had a bad game since, so I think our attitude shifted and we were able to get results.
– Monday’s match between the FNB NWU Eagles and FNB Wits will kick off at 19:00 and be broadcast on SuperSport channel 211.
Interview by Lesiba Dikhoba
Photo: Barco Greeff/ASEM Engage