The Tuks Netball team. Picture: Stefan Stander
WILHELM DE SWARDT

THE year 2017 will go down as the time that the University of Pretoria lifted the standard of its sport to a whole new level, winning six of the Varsity Competitions and nine USSA Tournaments.

To top it all, two UP-Tuks athletes became world champions in their respective Olympic sports codes, a tribute to the students, coaches and administrators at TuksSport.

The Tuks Athletics team. Picture: Reg Caldecott


The cherry on the top of a successful season was UP-Tuks winning Varsity Netball Tournament this week. They beat North-West Pukke 43-41 in the final played in the Rembrandt Hall on the sports campus.

This is the first time that Tuks has won the Varsity Netball. The team's head coach, Jenny van Dyk, became the first to coach teams to win the Brutal Fruit Series, the Senior Provincial Tournament and the Varsity Netball Tournaments in the same year.

The Tuks Football team.


A definite highlight was TuksRugby beating Maties 28-21 in the Varsity Cup final, making it the third time that Tuks’ “striped-up team” had won the tournament.

For Pote Human, the rugby coach, what is important for his players is to match performance on both the sports and academic fields.

The Tuks Young Guns, the under-20 rugby team, is one of UP’s most successful sports teams. They won the Varsity Cup Young Guns Competition for the fifth time in six years, beating Maties in this year’s final.

But it does not end there: TuksHockey’s women's team completed a double, winning the Varsity Tournament as well as the USSA (University Sports South Africa) Tournament.

Natalie Esteves leads the Tuks Hockey team. Picture: Zander Erasmus


Hockey captain Natalie Esteves ascribes their success to team loyalty - playing for “The Stripe”.

TuksAthletics is the overall winner of the Varsity Athletics Series for the second time, bringing the total number of wins at Varsity Athletics Meetings held in the last four years to 11 out of 13.

UP-Tuks ensured a third Varsity Football title beating TUT 2-0 in the final played at TUT.

This victory puts UP-Tuks ahead in the Varsity Tournament, winning it three out of the five years (also winning in 2013 and 2014).

The Assupol-Tuks Cricket Team.Picture: Reg Caldecott


Meanwhile, the Assupol-Tuks Cricket Team dominated local club cricket by winning five out of six tournaments. The team is not only the national club champions but also USSA champions, with their only setback losing to the Pukke in the Varsity-final.

Tuks also won the rowing, swimming, cross country, chess, golf, women's beach volleyball and judo USSA tournaments.

Another highlight was Kirsten McCann winning the lightweight women’s single sculls at the World Rowing Championships in Florida. She is the first South African female rower to win a gold medal at a senior world championship.

Luvo Manyonga became the first male athlete of TuksAthletics to win a world title when he won the long jump in London.

His coach, Neil Cornelius, also made local athletics history. At 29 years-old, he is the youngest South African coach to have coached a world champion.