Maties, UCT raring to go
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.”