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FNB WSU team preview with coach Thembani Mkhokeli

FNB Varsity Shield

After finishing fourth last season, losing in the semi-final against bitter rivals and eventual champions FNB UFH Blues, the FNB WSU team have their eyes on the prize for the 2023 FNB Varsity Shield competition.

Coach Thembani Mkhokeli says the initial preparations for this year’s tournament began somewhat unsteady with more new recruits after some of the players were released to other institutions that offered better opportunities.

2022 results: Win: 3 Lost: 3 Log position: 4th.

“We have lost key players like flyhalf Lwandile Maphuko and lock Asekho Marubelela but retained some of the older players who have helped to introduce and maintain the WSU All Blacks running rugby culture.

There are also more young stars adding a lot of energy to the camp and team spirit.”

Murie emphasised a need for patience as his team aim to take it game by game, looking at themselves in a rebuilding phase.

“The ultimate goal is not only to win but to qualify for the playoffs of the competition. Players to look out for are utility back Awonke Sondishe and hooker Mangaliso Zixesha both of whom displayed excellent skills during pre-season training.”

With the kickoff of this year’s Varsity Shield less than two weeks away, Murie says players are being managed carefully to keep them fresh through the competition.

“Varsity Shield being a well-contested competition, a proper player recovery and squad rotation system will be vital as teams will be travelling extensively to play their matches.

There will be an entertaining and attacking style of rugby on the menu for loyal supporters.”

FNB WSU open their 2023 campaign against rivals FNB UFH on 16 Feb in Alice.

2023 fixtures HERE.

by Tembela Mbovane


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