FNB UFS Shimlas are quietly confident heading into their big FNB Varsity Cup semi-final at 16:30 against FNB UCT Ikeys tomorrow at Shimla Park.
It is the second year running that Shimlas will host a semi-final at home and this year they are confident they can take it one step further.
They will however have to make do with a new centre combination as both the in-form midfielders, Jooste Nel and Zane Bester, have been ruled out for at least the semi-final through injury. Both players have played a significant role in the team reaching the knockout stage.
Shimlas thumped FNB CUT Ixias 68-36 in the Bloemfontein derby (watch highlights HERE). They also hammered five-time champions FNB Maties 44-12 for what was their first-ever win in Stellenbosch (watch highlights HERE).
This has certainly given their confidence a major boost. They are however wise enough to know that the team from the Mother City will also be confident following their 79-31 annihilation of the Ixias in Bloemfontein.
Shimlas coach André Tredoux warns that Ikeys are a well-coached side with a proven track record over the past few years.
“The Ikeys have a good rugby program and they played in the Varsity Cup final that was held in the bio-bubble (in 2021).
“Last year they made a home semi-final and they are in the semis for a third year in a row. Tom Dawson-Squibb is doing a great job down there and it will certainly be a tough semi-final.”
Tredoux adds that while they need to have the bodies ready for what is sure to be a grueling match, tuning in mentally will be key.
“Our backroom staff has been hard at work making sure that the bodies are ready. Also, on the mental side, we have to be ready, and we've had a few sessions regarding that. It's about getting the minds ready for the challenge that lies ahead.”
FNB UFS Shimlas: 15 Mabece Avuyile, 14 Zondani Siviwe, 13 Annies Michael Jnr Kurt, 12 Wentzel Ethan SJ, 11 Kunene Asanda Sihle, 10 Nkula Litha Siyasanga (Levii), 9 Adams Chadd Gabby , 8 Dlamini Kwezi, 7 Mahlasi Thabang, 6 Oosthuizen Lourens, 5 Sjöblom Dylan, 4 Uys Pierre-Raymond, 3 Dos Reis Francisco, 2 Moffat William John, 1 Schutte Johan Danie.
Semi-final fixtures HERE.