Tuks player Dewald Naude in action. Photo: Reg Caldecott

PRETORIA – The University of Pretoria (Tuks) men’s sevens rugby team’s preparation for the Varsity Tournament starts in earnest on Saturday when the team will be competing in the Christie Sevens Tournament in Nairobi.

It is the last tournament of Kenya’s Stanbic Bank-series. Apart from Tuks a team from Uganda has also been invited to play. 

The Tuks team is in for a tough challenge as they are in the same pool as Menengai Cream Homeboyz who is the current top team in the competition. Quite a few of Kenya’s national players are also playing for them.

Andries Kruger (UP-Tuks coach) is confident that the players will give a good account of themselves.

“It is going to be all about not making mistakes at crucial times,” said Kruger.

“In sevens rugby that one moment of lapsed concentration could mean the difference between winning and losing. We are going to be a bit on the back foot as all of the teams played a few tournaments already, so they had a chance to test combinations. We are only starting to do so now.”

Tuks men's sevens coach, Dabeon Draghoender (with trophy). Photo: Dabeon Draghoender on facebook
Tuks men's sevens coach, Dabeon Draghoender (with trophy). Photo: Dabeon Draghoender on facebook

Dabeon Draghoender (Tuks coach) is grateful for the opportunity to play.

“In the past, we did not really get to play tournaments before the Varsity Tournament which is far from ideal as it is one thing to train and something entirely different to play. Only once the team get to play matches they start to think like real sevens rugby players. 

Until three weeks ago most of our players still played rugby which means they are going to make some elementary mistakes on Saturday. However, I am a firm believer that you can only learn from making mistakes.”

What excites Kruger is that there seems to be significantly more interest from Tuks rugby players to take up sevens.

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“Last year we had about 17 players from which we could choose the Varsity Team now we got 28 players. So there is quite a rivalry amongst the players to be selected. No player can afford to rest on his laurels.”

There is not going to be any respite for UP-Tuks. They return from Kenya on Monday but then they leave again to play the University Sports SA tournament in Margate. Two weeks later, the Varsity Tournament in Johannesburg. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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