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Manuel urges Madibaz ‘to be warriors’ in Tuks showdown Manuel urges Madibaz ‘to be warriors’ in Tuks showdown
Madibaz rugby coach David Manuel has called for an undiluted 80-minute effort when his team takes on UP-Tuks in Friday’s final round-robin match of... Manuel urges Madibaz ‘to be warriors’ in Tuks showdown

Madibaz rugby coach David Manuel has called for an undiluted 80-minute effort when his team takes on UP-Tuks in Friday’s final round-robin match of the FNB Varsity Shield competition.

The imminent showdown in Pretoria is building up to be an epic between the competition’s only two unbeaten sides.

Tuks, who previously competed in the top-tier Varsity Cup, have swept all before them this season and will be looking to continue the trend against the Madibaz to defend their two-point lead at the top of the log.

The Mandela University outfit has also been impressive, combining a watertight defensive system with attacking qualities to win six games in a row.

Yet, Manuel knows that they will go into the contest as underdogs.

“We are ready to embrace this ultimate test,” the Madibaz mentor said. “Simultaneously, we are excited about the challenge ahead.”

The team began preparing for the critical clash with their usual Sunday practice session. Manuel said it quickly became apparent that his charges looked forward to measuring themselves against the best.

He felt it was a further opportunity for the development of a relatively young team and said all he had asked for was a full commitment for the game’s duration.

“We will focus on the things we can control and not get worried about the externals we can’t. It will be a case of each player trying to lift his game by one or two per cent, and I just want them to be warriors for 80 minutes.”

Manuel, who is in his third year as Madibaz’s coach, said it had taken some time to build the systems they needed to perform effectively at this level.

Nevertheless, they always pursue excellence and have identified some areas to work on.

“For example, I think we did well to handle the onslaught from Varsity College last Friday, but I still feel we lacked a bit of the killer instinct,” he said.

After going to the break 18-5 ahead, the Madibaz had to repel a strong charge from their opponents in the second half to win 25-19.

“But that’s the sort of thing that happens with a relatively young side. I am blessed with the players’ efforts this season,” Manuel said.

“We have built our defensive and attacking systems and [know] when to kick strategically, and now it’s a matter of trying to play within those systems for as long as possible.”

The coach said he was also pleased with their on-field discipline, which stemmed from their attention to detail in all facets of the game.

“That has been very encouraging,” Manuel said.

“Every Friday afternoon, there are glimpses of what they can achieve.”

Irrespective of the result on Friday, the Madibaz have earned a home semifinal. Who they will face in the first knockout game is unclear.

The match against UP-Tuks will be televised live on SuperSport. Kick-off is at 3pm.

News desk

News desk writes, collates and publishes relevant news for Yiba.

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