- It is Monday night on 20 March, and UP Tuks have just lost 46-35 to arch-rivals Maties. That makes five straight losses, which puts Tuks at the bottom of the log, with a real threat of being relegated. This is the poorest form UP Tuks have seen in the Varsity Cup since its inception. With all hopes of reaching the playoffs dashed and questions that need to be answered, what awaits the former Varsity Cup champions?
The game comes first and, as is all too common this season, Tuks fell behind in the first half. By the time the 50-minute mark was reached, the score was at an embarrassing 36-7. However, when their opponents received a yellow card, the men in white decided it was time to show a bit of backbone and tried to fight back. Zander Reynders led the charge by scoring the first try in Tuks’s rally. This was followed by Zandré Kruger’s moment of magic where he sidestepped the outside centre of Maties to get himself on the scoreboard. Kruger also played a pivotal role in the third try. But with the score at 36-28, Maties made sure to punish the non-stop errors from Tuks’s side, and after a swift conversion kick and grinded out try, the game was well beyond saving. Even with a final try from Tuks, it never seemed like they would be able to secure the victory in this game.
With rookie mistakes, failures at all set pieces and an insidious level of selfishness in the backline, the question needs to be asked: who or what is to blame for this fall from grace? Is it because the players do not seem to listen to their coaching staff, or have they simply lost some heart? Or is it that Nicolaas Luus, first-team coach, has reached an impasse with his coaching style? The answer to this question might never be known, but one thing is certain – something is terribly wrong at UP Tuks.
With games left to play against Johannesburg locals Wits and UJ, the time to save face is now. Because if UJ can defeat Maties in the next round and Tuks fails to pick up the win against Wits, it will mean relegation to the shield. As always, PDBY will be covering these final two games and will be hoping for the best outcome alongside all the fans.