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Varsity College coach McLaren on their success so far in debut season

FNB Varsity College has been the surprise package of the 2024 FNB Varsity Shield competition, finding themselves second on the log and on equal points with powerhouse FNB UP-Tuks. And this in their debut season in the highly competitive university rugby competition. Varsity College have collected bonus points in each of their wins and coach Jeremy McLaren is decidedly a happy man at this point.



“The Shield campaign for me as a coach is really complex (as) you have to figure out what happens every week. You play for something. The way FNB have structured it, it’s such a professional setup. Credit to them for creating a platform where a second-tier competition can be so professionally organized. It’s thinking outside of the box.”

 

Having received some guidance earlier on in the season from Springbok scrum coach Daan Human, McLaren also credits the World Cup-winning coach for some of their positive performances.

 

“As we know coach Daan is a really experienced guy, he really helped us. He confirmed to us that we are doing the right thing and that we are on the right track.”

 

With some critics saying the Varsity College team may be benefiting from the advantage of supposedly having Sharks Academy players in their midst, McLaren denies this.

 

“We don’t have even one Sharks Academy player. The only players we have are three junior contracted players who study at Varsity College. Other than that, every single player is a university student just studying here and playing for us. Every university has got school superstars they try to recruit. So it’s a bit of an unfair comment to hear these critics but with the start that we have had it comes with the territory.”



 A top-four finish and possibly going all the way is now most certainly within reach for Varsity College.

 

“I felt in the beginning of the campaign that maybe as a university we were not ready to go to the next level but the players are now believing that the goal of playing in the (FNB Varsity) Cup might be a reality for us. We just want to stay humble and give our best in the remainder of the competition,” says McLaren.

 

 

by Mpendulo Letsoalo

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