UP-Tuks are heading into Monday’s semi-final clash against defending champions Maties as the only unbeaten team in the 2023 Varsity Netball competition. The match will start at 19:00 at the Rembrandt Hall at Tuks in Pretoria.
While Tuks are riding high, the Maroon Machine suffered losses against UJ (32-35), NWU (40-50) and a massive 38-60 defeat against their semi-final opponents.
Following appearances in three previous finals, last year it was fourth time lucky for Maties when they beat NWU in the final to claim their first Varsity Netball title. Tuks were champions in 2017 and 2019.
Tuks coach Jenny van Dyk says at the end of the day, the semi-finals and the final are all that counts.
“Our performances up to date carry weight in the sense that it gives us the home ground advantage. The success will lie in executing the same thing to the same standard that we’ve done in the past couple of weeks.
“Playing Maties in the semis at Tuks is going to be one of the highlights of the season. They carry with them the title of the defending champions and obviously, that’s the red flag, if I can put it that way.
“For us, we’ve got nothing to lose and we know what we are working towards and this is just the first step of many more exciting things to come in the future. There is a lot of work to do this week, a lot of areas we need to fine-tune in keeping the squad fresh and giving them the right type of stimulus to move forward.”
Maties coach Zanele Mdodana says she’s always a firm believer that the tournament starts when you get to the semis.
“It’s going to be interesting to play at Tuks, obviously we are up against the crowd, they’ve got the home-ground advantage. But it’s not unfamiliar territory for us, we’ve been in that position before.
“We are just looking forward to a good game, putting our best foot forward and sort of reinventing ourselves. Coming out with a strong start, that’s going to be very important for us and making sure that we stay in the game until the very end.”