UJ received the perfect test
VARSITY CUP REACTION: With 10 debutants on the field and testing conditions to play in, UJ coach Werner Janse van Rensburg remains upbeat despite going down in their opening fixture on Monday.
Wet conditions were the order of the day in Johannesburg and opening their account against the defending champions made the task a bit more tricky. However, UJ stood up well to the challenge and managed to pick up a losing bonus point in the process.
"We handled the pressure quite well and the circumstances presented a new challenge in any case. Overall, it was a fairly good start for us with one or two management mistakes but we definitely have something to build on and be excited about.
"You won't speak about a loss as a good thing but I do there were some elements that we showed that if we grow from here, we can still be a side in the running after going through that test [on Monday].
"The match could have gone either way in those [wet] conditions and I think that we made far worse decisions in the final eight minutes than they [Pukke] did, which ultimately proved to be the game changer.
"Overall, the bonus point was vital because if you get points every week, you will get close to the semifinals," Janse van Rensburg told rugby365.com.
Janse van Rensburg knows they are in an interesting situation with building a new era and believes that they created enough opportunities to keep their noses ahead but a lack of execution let them down.
"We matched up to Pukke in terms of physicality but were a bit overeager at stages, instead of remaining calm. Pukke's pack managed to keep the ball and milked the penalties that gave them the decisive points - which comes with experience.
"We had opportunities in the last 12 minutes where we failed to find touch. So you kick those into touch and there's a line-out we can contest and the game becomes a bit different.
"There are no excuses for that but that's how this game is. One day the ball won't find touch and the next week, the same guys do everything perfectly," he added.
UJ will be hoping for a much better showing in their fixture as they host Shimlas.
"It now comes down to starting again and I am sure we will be stronger in the next game. We have a different challenge playing Shimlas because they are coming off the back of a good result in rainy conditions.
"They also have some continuity in their squad but we will back ourselves to do well against them," he stated.
By Tauriq Ebrahim