Swallows will be looking to defeat its bogey team when they take on Walter Sisulu University All Blacks in the Nashua Tournament knockout final at a venue and date to still be confirmed.
The curtain-raiser to the SuperSport Rugby Challenge Festival, is expected to be televised on SuperSport 1. Last season WSU All Blacks managed to overpower Swallows on two occasions in the Border Super League.
Therefore for Swallows coach, Yongama Mkaza, it’s his chance to prove that things are on the up for the Mdantsane-based team.
“We are all excited about this game and because our players will get the exposure they need,” said Mkaza.
“But, most importantly, we want to use this game to break the losing streak against the All Blacks as this will be our first game against them this season, after losing to them twice last season.”
He said the students were the only team who had made life difficult for them in the Super League competition.
“We are not taking this game lightly – we are preparing knowing that we had setbacks before with this team, but our focus is to go there and win that game,” he said. Mkaza said as they were playing on Sunday, they would have more time to practise and work out their game strategy.
“We might have beaten many teams so far this season, but we are not going there over-confident or big-headed.
“We watched All Blacks last week playing Old Boys, and people need to understand that these are young boys and they are still playing Varsity Shield.
“And everybody in their team who will be given an opportunity to play, will be trying to impress their coaches, because they want to be selected to the Varsity Shield squad in the 2019 season.
“So we are expecting a young and energetic side that will give us problems, because they playing quick rugby, and I think this game will be more challenging than the game against Police. [Swallows won 33-6].”
The former Border Bulldogs scrumhalf said they were going to go all out in the final, even though they would be missing their star prop Yanga Xhakalashe and hooker Dela Mavuso. Both players are nursing injuries they sustained during their gruelling encounter against Police last weekend. “We have injuries, but this is club rugby so that doesn’t concern us that much. We are forging ahead with the preparations for the game and, as usual, we are taking this very seriously,” says Mkaza.
“Yanga [Xhakalashe] is out with a shoulder injury and [Dela] Mavuso also has a problem with his shoulder.
“As much they might be injured I’m not saying they are not going to be playing this week, we are just going to take them to our doctors.
“And we’ll see whether they can get them to recover speedily, but that won’t determine the strength of our team because we have many good players.”
Mkaza said they had a good run against Police even though they made poor decisions on the pitch.
“They gave us a good match – they played well at some instances and it’s just that they couldn’t bury the game because they had their opportunities.”