Wits keep 'bigger picture' in mind
VARSITY CUP REACTION: Despite being narrowly edged in their opening Varsity Cup match, Wits will continue to add value to the broader Lions philosophy by playing an exciting brand of rugby.
Conditions were not ideal for a ball-in-hand game with heavy rain falling prior to kick-off, however, head coach Hugo van As gave credit to both sides for their persistence in wanting to keep the game flowing.
"Both sides tried to carry the ball under the tough conditions and I thought we adapted quite well. We didn't execute the plan properly, so there is room for improvement on the execution of the game plan and tactics.
"There were a couple of times when they [Shimlas] looked dangerous but that was when we went off our structure. I can't be too hard on the team because they also need to play what they see in front of them.
"After falling behind, we played exceptionally well to get ourselves in front again and we had a great opportunity to add more pressure onto Shimlas and have them chase the game. But the team realises the difference between Shield and Cup. Here [in Cup] you only get one or two opportunities and if you don't use it, you lose games.
"We want to add value to the bigger picture by buying into what Johan Ackermann and the [Lions] union stands for. So our approach will be to carry the ball more and to play and see what the opposition offers.
"If they [the opposition] give you the space and time to attack then we will play that. It has a lot to do with what the players see on the day and what your opponents allow, but our approach will be leaning towards building an innings and keeping ball in hand," Van As told rugby365.com.
Wits were punished for ill-discipline in the closing stages of the first half that saw them concede 14 points while having a player in the sin bin, but van As won't read much into the yellow cards they received.
"I have no doubt about the discipline of this team so we won't make a big thing about it. I think all sides will have a challenge over the next few weeks to adapt to the new regulations regarding high tackles and contact around the neck area.
"We knew that we will get punished if our discipline is bad, so we will address it again and refine the small disciplines," he added.
By Tauriq Ebrahim