The NMMU-Madibaz squad will regroup and redouble their efforts after losing to UJ in the fourth round of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International in Port Elizabeth on Monday night. The Port Elizabeth team suffered their third loss of the tournament when they went down 42-13 to the University of Johannesburg at a packed NMMU Madibaz Stadium. Speaking after the match, head coach David Maidza said the score line did not accurately reflect his team’s performance and commitment but that a number of mistakes had cost them dearly.
Maidza said his side had been too loose in their structures, had not protected the ball well and given it away too many times: ‘The first two tries they scored, they did so off of our mistakes. We can’t keep making error after error. We need to tighten up our strategies ahead of next week’s game if we are going to improve our performance.’ Although he was critical of his team’s performance on Monday night, Maidza remained positive that, with a bit of additional effort, the team could still turn things around and make a comeback in the competition. The Madibaz mentor said: ‘There is no denying that the effort is there. The boys are really trying. But, at this stage, we’re putting ourselves under a lot of pressure by making these kinds of errors.’
He said that the opposition had also noted the Madibaz’s lighter defence and destroyed them in the mauls: ‘Defending too much in our own half, especially in our 22, is definitely something we need to work on for the next match.’ Despite giving credit to the team for their continued effort, Maidza said they had to cut down their error rate: ‘We need to make sure that we come out next week and just hammer away again. Once we cut out some of the silly mistakes that we have been making, we will compete better.’ According to Maidza, the errors that needed to be improved on boiled down to both individual decisions and technique: ‘Yes, we are a young side but we need to learn how to improve on our errors in a shorter period of time, and I do believe that if we put our heads down we can do it. We will be focusing on what we need to fix as a squad ahead of the next game.’
The Madibaz are set to take on log leaders Shimlas at the NMMU Madibaz Stadium in Port Elizabeth on March 9 at 18:30.
Photo: NMMU-Madibaz’s Steven Hansel kicks ahead during their Varsity Cup clash with UJ in Port Elizabeth on Monday night.
Photo credit: Michael Sheehan/Saspa