The FNB Madibaz players will be hoping their high quality preparations pay dividends when they compete in the Varsity Sevens rugby tournament in Durban from Friday to Sunday.
Coach Beän van Eeden said they had taken their build-up to a much better level this year after performing impressively in the University Sport South Africa tournament in September, where they ended third.
“We used to train for four weeks and then get together for a few days before the tournament,” he said.
“This year has been so much better. We gave the guys a breather after the USSA tournament, but we have been preparing for seven weeks since then.”
Besides conditioning work in the gym, they played in a recent tournament against other Nelson Mandela Bay clubs, which had given them a further boost.
“This was critical to our preparations because there is real value in playing proper sevens matches, rather than the simulated conditions during training,” he said.
Van Eeden said they wanted to build on that performance even though they had a number of new faces in the squad since the USSA tournament.
“It is a bit of a blow losing so many players, but we now have some young guys in the squad and a great vibe has developed,” he added.
“They are extremely motivated to do well, something you could sense during our preparations. They never missed a training session.”
“In sevens anything can happen, so we feel we can be competitive.”
He said players such as Michael Botha and Lindelwe Zungu would be key factors against the country’s elite student teams.
“Michael was voted the most valuable player in the recent tournament and is a talented player, but we also know nothing less than a big team effort will suffice in Durban.”
Madibaz squad: Ettiene Cilliers, Nathan Kemp, Tristan Fourie, Nathan Gogela, Bryce Rennie, Liam Blake-Taylor, Yavela Sigenu, Simon Bolze, Michael Botha, Lindelwe Zungu, Spu Masutwana, Josiah Twum-Boafo, Dean January, Justin Hollis and Luvo Claassen.