By Siyolise Gqongwana
Madibaz Rugby has quickly brushed off a disappointing end to their Varsity Cup campaign and have been pulling off a string of revamped performances since. This was evident at the recent University Sports South Africa Rugby Championships hosted by reigning Varsity Cup champions, University of Pretoria-TUKS, on 4-8 July.
Coach, David Manuel, bolstered his young squad with a few fresh faces ahead of the tour. Wiegaard Brummer, Yolisa Dladla, Marco Raubenheimer, and Reece Ricther, who earned a call up to the first team following a brilliant season with the Young Guns, were all among the list of players poised for a debut.
Upon their arrival in Pretoria, the team lodged at the Anew Hotel in Hatfield where they would spend the remainder of their 5 day stay.
Kyle Cyster’s hattrick was not enough to seal the win for Madibaz on the opening day as they suffered a narrow 29-34 defeat at the hands of Wits. And it was back to the drawing board for Manuel’s side.
However, they did not have to wait too long to finally get a taste of victory. Two days later, Madibaz managed to avenge themselves against UWC who they lost to back in February. This morale-boosting 26-12 win came at the perfect time as they would face the stern test of Varsity Cup finalists, UFS-Shimlas, on day 5.
Considering the 72-24 defeat suffered back in April at the Madibaz Stadium, this stern test was passed with distinction when Kyle Cyster and co almost halved the deficit to 41-23 this time around. The star fullback expressed his satisfaction with the progress the team has been making in recent months.
“The team has grown a lot; we’ve actually become more like a family. We have a healthy bond, and we are all buying into the plans the coach has for the future.”
The 22-year-old also sent a strong warning to next year’s Varsity Shield opponents.
“We can assure our supporters that we will give every team in the Varsity Shield a run for their money next year. Our goal is to win the competition, and we are definitely going to do that,” he promised.
Photo credit: Madibaz Sport