It is unchartered territory for FNB UP-Tuks in the 2024 FNB Varsity Shield competition after a dismal performance in last year’s Varsity Cup competition saw the defending champions winless at the end of the round robin stages and being automatically relegated for the first time in their history.
The Stripe Generation are now looking to redeem themselves and head coach Deway Swartbooi believes the Pretoria outfit is up for the challenge in their quest to return to the elite Varsity Cup.
“It’s been a real challenge, we lost some experienced players so we will miss that but in the same breath, it is also a great opportunity for the new Stripe Generation to stick up their hand and become a Tuks legend. Playing in Varsity Shield will be tough and unknown to us but the boys are up for the challenge and going to take it one game at a time.”
Though they experienced their worst campaign ever last year and lost most of their key players, Swartbooi is pleased with the returning troops, one of them being the experienced flyhalf Walter Visser.
“A couple of the boys are returning for their last dance, Kyle Cyster, Walter Visser, Zander Reyenders and Ethan Burger.”
The Stripe Generation is set to begin their season away against FNB UFH at the Davidson Stadium in Alice on Friday 23 February.
Swartbooi has sent a warning to his opponents regarding his new recruits.
“You will have to wait and see the new pool of players coming through. The preparations have been going well … but only time will tell when we play our first Varsity Shield match.”
PROVISIONAL SQUAD LIST (subject to change)
Nico Du Randt, JL Van Rensburg, Abel Pretorius, Jean Fourie, Jayd Austin, Xavier Schoeman, Kobus Janse van Rensburg, Andile Myeni, Jonathan Smit, Kurt-Leigh Cookson, Patrick Hoban, Dillon Smith, Haydn Kemp, Andre Smith, Cayno February, Dian Marais, Adrian Joubert, Oelof de Meyer, Jayden Sam, Johan Louw, Pieter Rossouw, Buhle Planga, Munashe Dukuswa, Esam Zamubuntu, Bayanda Ngubane, Ruan van Blommestein, Chad-Lee Valentine, Barnard Nortje, JP Wentzel, Euan Groenewald, Roald Hattingh, Kamohelo Tlome, JW Marè, MJ Nel, Rivaldo De Kock, Marco Venter, Edwin Till, Daimon O’Connell, Allister Williams, Jandre Burger, Tharquinn Manuel, Walter Visser, Odwa Moletsane, Zander Reynders, Keane Galant, Ambesa Zenzile, GC Fourie, Ethan Burger, Dian Coetzee, Kyle Cyster, Juandré Jooste, Hilton Gie, Menzie Mndebele, Hlomla Marenene.
by Lehlogonolo Ditshego