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Semi-final: Eagles to utilise home-ground advantage

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

FNB NWU Eagles are hosting FNB Maties in the second FNB Varsity Cup semi-final at the Fanie du Toit Sports Ground, with kick-off set for 19:00.

This is on the back of winning six of their seven matches this year, with the only loss coming against the Maroon Machine (28-31). They topped and tailed their season with victories over FNB UJ (watch highlights HERE) and FNB Wits (watch highlights HERE).

Head coach Burger van der Westhuizen believes playing at home will be important for his team.

“The first objective we set for our campaign was to get a home semi-final and we managed to do that. This achievement is important because I think it’s a bit easier to play here than to travel. There is also added pressure from the crowd, they can help with the vibe.”

Maties were victorious in their previous encounter against the Eagles but Van der Westhuizen says it will be a different game this time around.

“I think it was the third game of the campaign so many things have changed from that game. Everybody got better, everybody’s defence got better, everybody’s structures are better and everybody did their homework.”

According to Van der Westhuizen Maties is a good physical team.

“We have looked into Maties, and how they play. They’re a very good side, they’re a physical and heavy side. They have a big pack of forwards. But it’s all coming down to one thing – stopping them from getting on the scoreboard and we need to score more tries because the scoreboard is the biggest factor.”

The coach believes everything needs to be on point if they’re to be victorious in the semi-final.

“For the semi-final, we’re going to need everything to be on point. The semi-final is once-off, there’s no losing the game and playing the next round so we need to improve all-round, defensively and attacking-wise.”

FNB NWU Eagles: 15 Swanepoel Tino Santino, 14 Windvogel Keano Ricardo, 13 Pretorius Theunis Gerhardus, 12 Phatudi I. S. Vincent Phatudi, 11 Jaarts Naiden, 10 Robinson Zinedine, 9 Hassien Sylvester, 8 Erlank Gustav Zacharias, 7 Bertram Karl-Heinz Henlein, 6 Vermaak Chris, 5 Nel Wihan, 4 Krugel Stephan, 3 Swiegers Ruan (Sampie), 2Paulo Vernon, 1 du Plessis Ruben.

Semi-final fixtures HERE.

by Lesiba Dikhoba

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