Captain Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu says that DHL Western Province U21 will give their best for each other, their coaches, their families and the blue and white hoops in the SA Rugby U21 Cup Final at City Park on Saturday.
Having gone through the tournament unbeaten thus far, DHL WP U21 have earned the right to host the final, which kicks off at 13h00 on Saturday at City Park.
Reflecting on the journey with what is a star-studded squad, Feinberg-Mngomezulu says that the continuity in selection this season has allowed the team to settle and gather some real momentum.
“The team has grown tremendously over the past 12 weeks. Combinations and continuity has played a huge role in that.
“Getting to understand your teammates, their habits and how to best work off them takes time usually, but we became aligned quickly through the consistent continuity, which has undoubtedly played a huge role in getting us to the final,” he said.
The mercurial playmaker has enjoyed the responsibility of the captaincy and leading a team which features a number of players he already has a long history with.
“I’ve loved leading this team. A lot of us were on the schoolboy rugby journey together and have played in various teams together so it made it even more of a privilege to be given the armband, for such an awesome group,” he said.
While DHL WP U21 have scored some great tries and put a few teams to the sword this season, they understand that it takes plenty of effort without the ball to set those opportunities up.
“The team is obviously filled with heaps of talent, but heaps of ‘buy in’ too. We’ve hurt opposition this year doing what we love with the ball and using our talents to score points. But we as a squad know that those opportunities are created without the ball and with hard work. Our understanding of that has given us massive reward,” said Feinberg-Mngomezulu.
While the players have shone on the field, there has been plenty of hard work put in behind the scenes by the coaching and support staff, which Feinberg-Mngomezulu says is greatly appreciated.
“The coaching staff has been amazing, from our coaches to our ‘backroom staff’. The coaches in particular have been professional with us and have prepared us to the best of their abilities since we started on day one.
“The activities that were planned for us off the field brought us closer as a group and have potentially given us the edge during the course of the season. They made it fun, exciting and enjoyable,” he said.
Although they are yet to lose this season, DHL WP U21 are expecting a fierce challenge from Lions U21 in the final and are looking to make the most of their home advantage at City Park.
“The Lions U21 are not coming to Cape Town to hand us a trophy so we can expect a fired up pack and a hungry Lions U21 outfit. City Park can be tricky, especially with the ‘breeze’ however we understand the wind and it’s challenges and it is a ground that we love playing at,” said Feinberg-Mngomezulu.
The captain’s message this week has been to focus on what has got them to this point and to play to their strengths with a trophy on the line.
The message to the team has been to stick to what we know. Although it is a ‘final’ that isn’t a reason for us to change what we’ve been doing or to try and reinvent the wheel. We’re a tightly knit group so my message will be to go and fight for each other, our coaches, our families and this union,” he added.