FNB Madibaz rugby captain Luvo Claassen says they are on track to handle the challenge of contesting the Varsity Shield competition when it starts next month.
The Nelson Mandela University team play their first match against University of KwaZulu-Natal on February 14 and have a chance to return to the top flight after an unbeaten run in the league phase last year.
The team with the most log points over the 2019 and 2020 Shield tournaments will earn automatic promotion to the Varsity Cup next year. Madibaz are in pole position on 30 points, five ahead of Cape Peninsula University of Technology.The 24-year-old Claassen said they would focus on each match as it happened.
“Every point matters, so we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” said the Madibaz scrumhalf.
“Our goal is just to focus on the first game, try to make sure we get all the points on offer, and then look to the next fixture.”
He said they understood that the pressure would be there, but added that other teams would also feel the strain.
“As I said, it’s just about focusing on what lies ahead of us before going on to the next challenge.”
Claassen, who has played for the EP Kings Currie Cup team, said their preparation leading up to the Shield opener was on track.
“Our strength and conditioning coach has done a great job in getting our bodies in good condition and the boys are feeling fitter and stronger. That is a good sign.
“We’ve also paid attention to the mental side of the game – how to handle pressure and what to do in pressure moments – so that’s helped a great deal.”