Maties, UCT rar­ing to go

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

WITH Western Prov­ince Su­per League A lead­ers Hamil­tons en­joy­ing a bye to­day, the fo­cus switches to the chasers. For de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Maties and 2011 champs UCT, a win­ning re­turn fol­low­ing a two-month break is ex­pected when they take on Bel­har and Bel­lville re­spec­tively.

It should be a dod­dle for Maties; they’re up against a side lan­guish­ing at the foot of the ta­ble. But Bel­har did open their cam­paign on a pos­i­tive note, draw­ing with UCT.

“That shows you that there are no easy games in the SLA,” said Maties coach Chris Ros­souw. “I’ll be pretty an­noyed if we don’t grab the max­i­mum five-point haul. Like our archri­vals UCT, we’re com­ing off a long break, but the boys are rar­ing to go.”

The same can be said about UCT. “The boys are tired of prac­tis­ing, they are itch­ing to get some game time,” said coach JJ Ga­giano. “We don’t see Bel­lville as pushovers at home; they are much bet­ter than their lowly log po­si­tion sug­gests.”

Switch­ing from player to coach, Ga­giano, who played 10 sea­sons for UCT (three Var­sity Cups and 14 caps for the United States), says it’s an hon­our and priv­i­lege to be en­trusted with the head coach­ing role.

“It’s a thrill to be in­volved. Hope­fully I can carry on the good work laid by for­mer coach Hanyani Shi­mange. He has paved the way for a tilt at the SLA, now I must carry that,” Ga­giano said.

UCT’s in­com­ing di­rec­tor of rugby, Kevin Musikanth, feels pos­i­tive about the role his coach will play. “JJ has what it takes to make a top-class coach. He knows all about the Ikey Tiger brand, has gained the re­spect of his play­ers and has set high stan­dards.”

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