Tuks coach David Manuel says his team is embracing the power play law change ahead of the 2018 Varsity Cup season.
This year, captains will be able to remove any two nominated backline players from the opposition for three minutes of playing time during matches.
The power play, which will also be part of the Varsity Shield, can only be called by a team while in their own half, must be called by the captain, and can only be called once. If the team whose players have been removed score a try during the power play period, they are awarded an extra two points (seven points before the conversion).
‘It is the call that has been made and we need to embrace it’, Manuel told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘For us, it is more about how can we adapt and strategise so that we can benefit from it as a team.
‘It is an interesting law. There was a lot of negative reaction to it, possibly because people have been looking at it from a defensive mindset, that the defending team will now lose two players.
‘However, if you have 15 men against 13 as an attacking team, the pressure is on you to score and if you don’t score there is a huge temptation to get frustrated. So it is tough on both teams psychologically, but as coaches, we need to make it work.’
Manuel said the 2017 champions have put last season behind them, and are starting 2018 with a clean slate.
‘When we came together for the first time, we asked ourselves how we will improve on last season. What we got to was if we all individually can be better than what we were the previous year and we add that up to the collective, then we will be a better team.
‘So the focus has shifted a lot to how we can be better as individuals, how we can be better in terms of skills, knowing our roles on and off the field in terms of character. Hopefully, we can bring that to the collective and improve.
‘The label of Varsity Cup champions is there but we have worked very hard to make sure that it is not the focus.’
Tuks open their campaign with a home game against Shimlas on Monday.
Photo: Reg Caldecott