Serious contenders for the Varsity Shield
All Blacks play Impi at the BCM Stadium Monday
Varsity Shield action is back in East London as the Walter Sisulu University All Blacks welcome the University of KwaZulu-Natal Impi (UKZN) to the BCM Stadium for their high stakes encounter at the BCM Stadium on Monday night.
The second-placed All Blacks sit just one point ahead of the third-placed Impi, so a loss to them would leave the hosts in a spot of bother with only one pool match left after this match, while a win over the visitors would give them some much needed breathing space.
The Impi are looking like a much stronger side than in previous seasons and have enjoyed a couple of big wins so far, although they were comfortably beaten by the high flying table-topping Nelson Mandela University Madibaz in their last match.
The All Blacks head into the game off a good win over local rivals Rhodes which snapped a two-match losing run and they will be keen to keep up the momentum.
“The result against Rhodes was really important for us, we needed to get back on the winning track after our two losses and we managed to do that, so we have built up some good momentum and will take it into the UKZN match.” said All Blacks coach Sipho Metula.
“We have kept an eye on UKZN over the season, we see that they are having a much better season than in previous years. They have won some big matches and we are not taking this game lightly.”
With wet weather predicted for the match it will be interesting to see how the two teams who enjoy running the ball at every opportunity react to the conditions.
The All Blacks will be desperate to get positive result as a loss would most likely see their chances of sealing a home semifinal go up in smoke, while a win would keep them well in the running.
“We have been preparing for wet weather, so we have been training in the week with a kicking game plan in mind; we just have to make sure our kickers are on point and our chasers are up to speed,” admitted Metula.
“With the right attitude and right mindset we will put the game in the bag.
“Part of our plan, now that we have lost two games, is that we are focusing on winning the rest of our matches so that we can make sure we qualify for a home semifinal.”
The University of Fort Hare Blues will also be in action as they take on the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Cape Town.
If the Blues are to have any chance of reaching the Varsity Shield semis they will have to beat the in-form hosts in their back yard, while that result would also benefit the All Blacks with CPUT breathing down their necks.
CPUT will be favourites, but the the Blues having picked up their first win of the season against the Tshwane University of Technology Vikings in their last outing, they will head into the match high on confidence and looking to pull off an upset.
Both games kick off at 6.30pm...