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FNB UWC feeling the relegation heat

FNB Varsity Cup

FNB UWC coach Paul Treu knows his side has its back against the wall in this year’s edition of the FNB Varsity Cup.

The Bellville-based team is in a race to stay up and miss the proverbial chop down to the FNB Varsity Shield.

Treu, now in his second year as the Udubs boss, has seen his side disappoint this season after they had a stellar 2021 campaign in which they entertained and even surprised many with their enterprising brand of rugby.

FNB UWC must now win their remaining three games – at home against fellow strugglers FNB CUT as well as FNB UJ, and then create history by beating FNB Maties for the first time ever.

What makes matters worse is that Udubs will travel to Stellenbosch for their final game but could very well be relegated by then.

“Disappointing,” was Treu’s short but direct answer when asked him to describe their 2022 campaign. “We lost a lot of players from last year but even so we had a good pre-season.

"We spent close to six weeks in Stellenbosch at SAS and Paul Roos where we had excellent training and gym facilities. I felt we were well prepared and would have a good start to the season but, unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way.

“We also lost a few key players just before the competition, like Lundi Msenge, Tinotenda Mavesere, André Manuel and Branden de Kock, who were in demand at provincial level, and [hooker] Lukhanyo Vokozela was called up to the Western Province Currie Cup team last week on match day.

"That being said, we saw the potential of this team against the Madibaz and it’s not as if they are a bad team. We are now fighting for relegation and have tough games coming up and must win those games."

Udubs are up against FNB CUT on Monday in Bellville. A defeat to Braam van Straaten’s Ixias would all but seal UWC’s fate and mean them taking the plunge to the FNB Varsity Shield.

However, should Treu’s charges beat FNB CUT and FNB UJ at the Operation Room on consecutive Mondays and FNB CUT come unstuck against FNB NWU (at home in Bloemfontein) and (away) against the FNB UCT Ikeys, the battle for relegation will reach heights of new proportions for everyone involved.

Monday's match will kick off at 17:00 and be broadcast on SuperSport channel 211.

By Shafiek Mouton

Photo: Nasief Manie/ASEM Engage

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