SARugbymag.co.za talks to NMMU coach David Maidza about the upcoming Varsity Cup.
Are there any changes to your squad?
A number of players have moved on to greener pastures like the Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and even Super Rugby. With them leaving, we were forced to make additions, a few youngsters coming through the ranks.
How has the squad prepared for the competition?
Preparations have been going alright. We've played three games, winning two and losing one. We have one more warm-up against Despatch, hopefully we continue winning and take that form into the Varsity Cup campaign.
What have you learned from last year's campaign?
Brent Janse van Rensburg and his team did extremely well last year, reaching the semi-finals and just missing out on a place in the final. Taking over from Brent, I want to build on the foundation he laid. Like him, I want to advertise Eastern Cape rugby, showcase the talent we have. Rugby-wise, if we want to go a step further than we did last year, we need to work on our ball-carrying, defence and decision-making.
What are your thoughts on the duel-ref system?
We utilised the system in our pre-season matches and it's worked out well for us. The game was much better controlled. But in saying that, it was only friendlies and we'll have to see if this trend continues in the Varsity Cup. I hope it does, as it's a fairly useful and likeable system.
What are your goals for the tournament?
To take each game as it comes. I don't want to look too far ahead. I'm a new coach with young, inexperienced personnel at my disposal. My main goal is to see them grow as individuals in the sport and on a personal level. With growth comes confidence and experience.
Photo: Manus van Dyk/Gallo Images