'One game at a time' says Van As

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:57
Large wandisile simelane wits runs 2017 800

VARSITY CUP REACTION: As they head into the closing stages of the round-robin fixtures, Wits head coach Hugo van As is not about to get distracted by the hype. Leezil Hendricks reports.

After their tremendous win against reigning champions NWU-Pukke, Wits were determined to prove that it was anything but a fluke. And indeed, Van As' troops yet again proved that they can punch above their weight as the NMMU-Madibaz become their latest casualty.

It was a huge win for Wits, who kept their play-off hopes alive as UJ and UCT are waiting in the wings.

"I must be honest, we are not at that semi-final process yet.

"As a team, we have not discussed it and for us, it was more important that we had to repeat a win to prove to ourselves and fans that we could do it more than once.

"I think the semi-finals is in the back of the players’ minds but as a team, we haven’t looked at it. We want to focus on one game at the time," Van As said.

Wits' boss should be praised for his coaching philosophy. While some coaches shy away from using youngsters, Van As will often feature talent from the Under-19 age group in his squad.  

The mentor has entrusted his young Golden Lions’ prodigies - like Wandisile Simelane, Gianni Lombard, Manuel Rass and more - with the great responsibility of adding value to the side.

"We are committed to the fact that we want to go with a younger generation of players, just last night we had four U19 players in the group and it has to be due to our relationship we have the Golden Lions.

"Some of my peers do not share my sentiments but as a coach, I believe they are special players and can only add value especially in a student competition.

"Besides, the young guys get exposure and will be helpful when one or two of them may join the Junior Boks at the U20 World Cup in Georgia when they take on the likes of England or New Zealand" Van As told rugby365.com

Wits' next opponents are their neighbours, the high-flying UJ. A win will not only enhance Wits’ chances of making the semi-finals but bragging rights are also up for grabs.

"Our attitude the whole campaign was one game at a time and it is no different heading into the UJ match. It is a huge game. UJ have been playing well and have improved since the Tuks game.

"It’s a derby – you don’t have to tell the players and fans the magnitude – I think whether it is club, provincial or intervarsity it is always tightly contested and intense," he stated.

By Leezil Hendricks
@Leezil07
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 27 May 2017
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
Lions v Bulls 51 | 14
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 18 | 16
Sunwolves v Sharks 17 | 38
Force v Highlanders 6 | 55
Hurricanes v Cheetahs 61 | 7
Fri, 19 May 2017
Leinster v Scarlets 15 | 27
Stormers v Blues 30 | 22
Chiefs v Crusaders 24 | 31
VARSITY CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool CUP
Team P W D L Pts
UP-Tuks 8 7 0 1 34
Maties 8 7 0 1 34
UJ 8 5 0 3 25
Shimlas 8 5 0 3 23
Wits 8 4 0 4 21
NWU-Pukke 8 4 0 4 19
NMMU-Madibaz 8 2 0 6 11
UCT-Ikeys 8 2 0 6 9
CUT-Ixias 8 0 0 8 3
Pool SHIELD
Team P W D L Pts
UWC 6 5 0 1 27
Fort Hare 6 4 0 2 20
UKZN-Impi 6 4 0 2 20
WSU 6 3 0 3 14
CPUT 6 2 0 4 10
TUT 6 2 0 4 9
Rhodes 6 1 0 5 6