UP-Tuks men's and women's sevens rugby teams soar
Posted on October 12, 2018
The UP-Tuks men’s sevens rugby team shone by winning the Varsity Tournament for the first time, beating the University of Johannesburg (UJ), 19-14; while the Delta Drone TuksWomensRugby7’s team won the Munchen Oktoberfest Tournament for the second consecutive year.
The men’s finals was thrilling. With less than a minute left to play, UP-Tuks were trailing UJ 7-14, and a few would have backed them to win. However, being runners-up was never going to be good enough for them.
During the last power play, it took one moment of brilliance by Lorenzo Cloete to make the long hours spent training, pay dividends. When he got the ball, he kept a cool head and with a cheeky grubber kick, caught the UJ defenders off guard. He collected the ball again and with an impressive burst of speed scored a 10-pointer. The conversion was a mere formality.
Lourens Pretorius who put in a dominant run to score his team’s first try in the final was justifiably elated by the result. It was fifth time that he played in the Varsity Tournament but the first time he was victorious.
He attributed his team’s success to lessons learnt during the University Sports South Africa (USSA) Tournament. “We finished fifth at USSA’s after losing only one game. I would say that was the turning point for all of us. We knew we were better than the results showed. We had something to prove. To finally be able to lift the Varsity Trophy is special.”
Dewald Naude who impressed throughout the tournament with his uncanny ability to wriggle through the smallest of gaps to score tries referred said: “The tougher the battle, the sweeter the victory. It must be one of the best performances ever by a Tuks sevens side. And to be able to contribute in a small way to our victory made the whole experience so much more rewarding.”
UP-Tuks coach, Dabeon Draghoender said “I am really impressed with our defence. To concede only eight tries in six games really shows how hungry and committed the players were. They were also brilliant with ball in hand.”
The UP-Tuks men’s sevens rugby team. Photo: varsitysportssa.com
Meanwhile, the Delta Drone TuksWomensRugby7's team outplayed the Tabisuro Angels in the finals of the Munchen Oktoberfest Tournament to win 40-0.
Springbok, Nadine Roos, impressed by scoring 11 tries during the tournament and succeeding with 75% of the conversions. It resulted in her being awarded the Player of the Tournament award.
According to coach Riaan van der Merwe, Meghan Phillips was also brilliant with ball in hand: in one game she scored four tries. Kemi Baloyi did not disappoint. In all five games, she was in the thick of things. She put her body on the line, going for big tackles on countless occasions. She also mastered the art of making turnovers.
Delta Drone TuksWomensRugby7's team. Photo: Reg Caldecott
What is remarkable is that UP-Tuks are able to beat national teams like Wales, which is considered to be one of the top women’s seven sides.
Their last tournament will be in November when they will compete in Dubai.
- Author Wilhelm de Swardt