With a reasonable balance of experience and youth, the University of Johannesburg rugby team are ready for a fresh Varsity Cup challenge when the tournament starts on January 29.
Opening against the formidable Stellenbosch team at UJ Stadium, the home side will be looking for a good start as they again aim to prove themselves among the top varsity teams in the country.
Although UJ coach Werner Janse van Rensburg said it was difficult to maintain continuity in terms of playing personnel, he added the squad did included about nine players who had featured in two or more Varsity Cup competitions.
“We probably have about 13 to 15 first-year students on our books. This is their chance to make a name for themselves,” he said.
“Having changes to your squad each year is something we have become accustomed to and everyone’s in the same boat.
“In this competition you will never have the continuity that comes with a settled squad of 30 to 35 players with whom you can work over a period of years.”
Having seen his side fall at the semifinal stage twice, Janse van Rensburg said success was all about taking your opportunities.
“That’s the way you have to play to get into finals. We’ve learned harsh lessons in the last two years.”
Looking ahead to the new season, Janse van Rensburg said UJ were prepared to absorb whatever came their way.
“You learn something all the time in this competition because you play in so many different circumstances.
“We’ll take it game by game, with our focus now on the Maties fixture.”
He described the Stellenbosch side as one of the best in the competition; chosen from the biggest player base.
“But we have our own standards and I firmly believe we will be competitive again. This is a competition that has always been open, with any team capable of winning.”