UP-Tuks created a moment in Varsity Cup history on 28 March when they played against the University of Cape Town (UCT), beating them 100-25. The score line has immortalised UP-Tuks in the record books as scoring the highest point total ever in a Varsity Cup rugby match. The match offered both teams crucial opportunities: UCT looked to restore their pride and avoid an unsuccessful campaign, while UP-Tuks won a viable playoff spot. Winger Duhan van der Merwe led the charge that overwhelmed UCT with a barrage of attacking rugby that ended in a total of six tries to his name. Perdeby spoke to the winger about his experience of the historic match.
UP-Tuks recorded the highest point total in Varsity-Cup history. What does it mean to you to be part of such a momentous game, especially after scooping the honour of Man of the Match?
It was a fantastic feeling being part of such a record-breaking match. During the game I didn’t even realise we were accumulating so many points. We just kept our heads down and did what we [went] there to do.
You played with a lot of intensity in that game, scoring six tries. What inspired your performance?
My ultimate goal was to become top try scorer for Varsity Cup, so I just went to achieve what I do every game, which is to score as many tries as possible. In this specific game, however, everything came together perfectly.
UCT responded immediately after you scored the first try. How did this affect the team?
We knew that if we didn’t win the game with a bonus point, we wouldn’t make it to [the] semi-finals. This motivated us every step of the game.
How do you plan to continue in the same form and score when it matters most in the knockout stages?
I’m just going to keep my focus for the full 80 minutes. Focus is key.
What would you point out as your highlight of the match against UCT?
Scoring two nine-point tries (from 70 metres) within five minutes.
After suffering a dismal start to the season, what was the turning point of the campaign for the team to have advanced to the semi-finals?
Some of our vital players were injured at the beginning of the season. When they came onto the field it made a massive difference.
Much was said about the exclusion of fans from Varsity Cup matches. How did you feel about returning to the fans at home ground stadiums after such a comeback?
It was really great to give fans the opportunity to back their boytjies once again.