UJ face a character test
REACTION: A new-look UJ outfit suffered their second consecutive Varsity Cup defeat on Monday and now faces a test of their character if they want to turn their season around.
It may be early days but there is still hope for the Johannesburg side as teams have already shown that they are able to turn around a losing start - namely, Tuks 2016 when they reached the 2016 semifinals after opening their season with three consecutive defeats.
Despite the defeats, head coach Werner Janse van Rensburg still believes his side are showing progress.
"It [progress] is slower than what we would like it to be but we always knew where we were. Between the two matches, we had 13 guys making their debut. It's not an excuse but it is a new side and we are in a similar situation to where the Lions were a few years ago.
"So what we have are a bunch of guys who haven't played together before but in saying that, we can make it click. Things can look totally different if we manage to get one or two results in our favour. It's a tough start for us and we have seen slow progression but it's progression nonetheless," Janse van Rensburg told rugby365.com.
UJ may have gone down 29-47 to Shimlas in Johannesburg on Monday but Janse van Rensburg believes the outcome came down to a short period in the encounter when Shimlas made the most of his side's errors.
"It was quite closely contested until 50 minutes, then from there for about a 10-minute spell, we made bad errors - conceded a yellow card and a turnover try which ultimately stretched their lead. I think we went to sleep in that period and they used their opportunities.
"We did quite well in passages but we are simply making more errors than whoever we play against. They [Shimlas] looked calmer and they need to be given the accolade for the result.
"We acknowledge that period [of conceding those quick points] wasn't great and we will keep working on those fundamentals of the game but those errors come down to player responsibility in terms of having a better attitude towards protecting the ball," he added.
UJ will now enjoy a bye week and it may have come at a good time for the young side as they can now regroup before a stretch of six consecutive matches.
"It [the bye] will now give some players a chance to rest and recover from knocks and niggles they have picked up. It also allows the team to have a more relaxed week at training where we can concentrate on the things we need to do and see how we can improve from this point forward.
"We will only know the impact of this bye after our next few matches," he stated.
By Tauriq Ebrahim