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Semi-final: Consistency the key for Maties

FNB Maties consulting head coach Matt Proudfoot knows Potchefstroom, rugby and how to win knockout matches. All three of these factors will need to combine for the men in Maroon to reach an incredible 11th FNB Varsity Cup final when they take on FNB NWU Eagles in tomorrow’s second semi-final. Kick-off is at 19:00.

Coach Matt, as he is referred to by the players, attended Potchefstroom High School for Boys and played for the Eagles as a student, before going on to start his illustrious coaching career at his alma mater, after playing test rugby for Scotland.

“Winning two Superbowls and the first Intervarsity away in 27 years (against FNB UFS Shimlas) are special memories of my time in Potchefstroom,” says Proudfoot.

Come this Monday though, he will have to put all the fond memories with NWU aside for 80 minutes.

While Maties were able to record a victory over their semi-final opponents in round three of the competition (watch highlights HERE), it has not been smooth sailing for the five-time champions.

“Rugby is a game of percentages, and one poor execution has led to us putting ourselves under pressure for long periods. We’ve unfortunately had lapses which lead to points against us, especially when the team has been a player down due to cards,” Proudfoot says.

There have been glimpses of brilliance and Proudfoot wants his charges to be consistent for the duration of the game.

“The team has shown resilience during the season, dealing with injuries and tough losses, but it has created an opportunity for growth and to build the group.”

The FNB Maties know what it takes to win knockout games, having won 10 of their 11 semi-final matches since 2008, with the only blemish being in 2014 when they went to 8-20to arch-rivals FNB UCT Ikey Tigers in a wet and muddy encounter in Cape Town.

Proudfoot is a big believer in history and has the experience required to lead this team to yet another Varsity Cup final.

“Traditionally Maties have always lifted their game against the so-called bigger sides such as

UP-Tuks or NWU Eagles, and we know that it is only the performance on the day that matters.”

FNB Maties: 15 Cade Croy, 14 Aydon Topley, 13 Grant de Jager, 12 Waqar Solaan, 11 Marcqiewn Titus, 10 Jurie Matthee, 9 MckyleVolmoer, 8 De Wet Marais, 7 Louw Nel, 6 Gift Dlamini, 5 Juan Beukes, 4 Matthys Kitshoff, 3 CornéWeilbach, 2 SiaybongaNgubelanga, 1 Vernon Matonga

Semi-final fixtures HERE.

by Dorfling Terblanche

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