WSU All Blacks ready to challenge for 2017 FNB Varsity Shield

NOVEMBER 10, 2016

An impromptu ‘Haka’ sees WSU’s premier rugby side, the All Blacks, pump themselves up, shouting scorpion-bite like induced incoherent ramblings of madmen - a sight that invokes pride and confidence in any onlooker looking forward to the 2017 FNB Varsity Shield rugby competition.

It’s Tuesday morning 8 October, the excitement, though guarded amidst on-going final exams, is palpable and the eagerness written in the eyes of the young men congregated at the University’s Potsdam Site for a photo session ahead of the looming deadline for submission of players’ head and shoulders shots to competition officials.

As the last player dusts himself off to have his picture taken, his teammate, half-dressed, swings hFis rugby jersey around and breaks out into song and is duly joined by a bass and tenor devoid of any coherence or technical ability – but the cohesion in spirit and hunger is unmistakeable.

 “As you can clearly see, the boys are rearing to go come Varsity Shield 2017. The spirit is there, the talent is abundant, and the passion and drive is irrepressible. We will make WSU proud,” says team coach Sipho Metula.

He is quick to credit and attribute the current successes to “warriors” that have left it all on the field and proven instrumental in laying the platform for the current crop to display their talent in.

“It is a great feeling not only for me as the coach, but the entire coaching staff of WSU across campuses, not forgetting the players, especially those that have laid the platform for this team to be the true champions that have put WSU on the map by working very hard to achieving all the goals that we've set for them,” adds Metula.

He eases doubts and concerns by assuring that preparations are on track, with off-season training that concentrated on conditioning having been recently slightly completed in October and thus lessened in intensity.

He says the focus has shifted in the pre-season to the more technical and tactical aspects of the game, with more attention being dedicated to on-field related sessions like skills coaching, modified games, patterns of play, and again, highly intense conditioning.

“After exams we will be going to the in-season where our major focus will be on full contact with more skills work, more intricate patterns of play, after which, in January 2017, will be playing friendly matches against the likes of Nelson Mandela University, Central University of Technology and Rhodes University. We are in the process of negotiating these warm-up fixtures,” says Metula.

He says the team has nothing to lose and everything to gain going into the tournament, from personal and team development to the exposure and experienced to be gained in the semi-professional set-up that the tournament is organised with.

Metula makes a reassurance that the WSU All Blacks will play hard, impassioned and attractive rugby that will gain the University respect and exposure. 

“We’re not going there to merely make up the numbers. We are there to fight for every inch to ensure that we do ourselves and the University proud. We are there to challenge for the title,” concludes.

A mammoth task awaits the All Blacks as they’ll be pitted against the likes of Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Fort Hare, University of Kwazulu Natal, and the University of the Western Cape.