On Saturday 13 August 12 teams gathered at Loftus Versveld to compete in the annual Carlton Cup finals. It was a day to savour for Pretoria rugby fans, with six matches played and three champions crowned on the day. Three of the finalists were UP-affiliated teams: Tuks u/20, Tuks u/21, and Tuks-Fezelas.
The UP-Tuks first team was unfortunate not to participate in the finals, having beaten Naka Bulls 60-41 in the semi-finals. Tuks-1 would have played against Centurion-1 in the final, but technical rules prohibited the student team from partaking. The rules of the Carlton Cup state that each participating player must have played at least three matches for their respective club prior to a semi-final or final appearance. There is also a cut-off date for registration of new players. Tuks-1 did not adhere to these stipulations and therefore missed out on the final.
All UP teams managed to walk away with winner’s trophies. The first to taste victory was the Tuks u/21 team who put the u/21 Dragons to the sword. It seemed to be a clear mismatch of competitors as UP thumped the Dragons 74-11. Tuks-Fezelas had a more challenging encounter with the Dragons’ second team. It was a neck-and-neck affair throughout the match, but Tuks- Fezelas managed to pull away from the Dragons in the final third. Tuks-Fezelas took the second trophy with a clinical 34-22 win. The Tuks u/20 team faced the Naka Bulls u/20 team in one of the last fixtures of the day. UP hit the ground running, taking a 15-3 cushion into half-time. The Naka Bulls returned from the tunnel with renewed confidence but eventually went down 27-22 to UP. With this, the three UP-Tuks teams completed a three title haul in the finals of the 2016 Carlton Cup.
The main final of the day was contested between Centurion-1 and Naka Bulls-1 in a very cagey encounter. Both teams started very tentatively in the first half and points were difficult to score, but the boot of Gaybrin Smith proved instrumental
Photo: Fezekile Msimang.