Positive Pukke awaits UCT in Potch
VARSITY CUP REACTION: Reigning champions NWU-Pukke take no time to dwell on the negative as they prepare for a hard-hitting clash against UCT-Ikey Tigers in Potchefstroom. Leezil Hendricks reports.
On Monday, the NWU-Pukke went down 9-31 at the hands of Maties at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch - the same venue they claimed their inaugural Varsity Cup trophy.
Maties ran in three tries to Pukke's one, which it out of character the NWU-Pukke head coach Jonathan Mokuena admits.
"I am not happy with the loss," Mokuena revealed to rugby365.com.
"Maties played really well. They used the opportunities to the best of their abilities, while we were forcing things.
"We really played out of character,"
With the competitions heading into its fourth week, injuries have started to creep in and it’s no different for the defending champs.
Flyhalf Schalk Hugo suffered a knee injury just before the Maties kick-off, while captain Jeandré Rudolph (concussion), hooker Wilmar Arnoldi (concussion), lock Loftus Morrison and wing Tapiwa Mafura are all in doubt for the clash against UCT-Ikey Tigers on February 20.
"The injuries are definitely not helping our preparations for UCT. However, I think this time around we have enough time to work with the guys who is coming into the team.
"This whole week we are going to be getting the guys into the positive mindset, and making them aware of the challenge that they are facing.
"UCT got their tails up [after the 22-7 win against Shimlas] so they will be coming to Potchefstroom oozing with confidence.
"I do believe my boys had a good wake-up call last week and they realise that they have to be at their very best every single match. There is no such thing as an easy game in this contest.
"Each and every game is going to be one hell of a match," he added.
By Leezil Hendricks