Tuks 1 regained the number one spot on the Carlton Cup log after beating rivals TUT Vikings 64-3, scoring nine tries at TuksRugby Stadium on Saturday 28 July.
A few weeks prior to the match Tuks had suffered a shocking loss against Centurion in their first Carlton Cup defeat since July 2010, losing 19-13. Before that match Tuks were on a spectacular winning streak of 28 matches. “It was not a case of them winning the match, but rather us losing it,” said the disappointed coach, Bart Schoeman.
Tuks seemed to have erased the defeat from their minds, as they came back on Saturday 21 July with yet another big win when they beat Silver Valke 88-0. Tuks scored 14 tries that day, and by half time already had the game well under control with a 45-0 lead. Despite what many may see as a most impressive win, coach Schoeman was still not satisfied with the team’s performance on the day. “I am happy with the big win, but even so, the performance itself was too far beneath the standards we set for ourselves. They fielded a weakened side and we should have beaten them by 100 points or more,” said Schoeman. “The fact that we did not is most worrying as it reflects a loss of concentration and urgency on our side. We were never close to clinical game-plan execution.” Tuks received contributions from all the players to earn the win, with ten different try scorers on the day. Tian Schoeman, Cameron Dunlop, Lee Thompson and GD Kotzé all got two tries each. The rest of the tries were scored by Louis van Biljon, Dirk Dippenaar, Jan-Hendrik Bosman, Ruan van Rooyen, Clayton Stewart and Wesley Kotzé.
Tuks hoped to keep the winning trend going when they faced Varsity Cup rivals the TUT Vikings. This year Tuks already had three crushing victories against TUT and the trend continued on 28 July. Tuks had a terrible start to the game with star inside-centre Dabeon Draghoender involved in a collision that saw him stretchered off the field after suffering a concussion. Draghonder’s substitute Donnovan Marais did not take long to make his mark as he showed a good eye to find gaps in the TUT defence and scored a good try with a 10-metre run to give Tuks an early lead. Tian Schoeman failed to extend the lead to seven as he missed conversion.
Tuks controlled their ruck well, building through the phases with good clean outs, but mistakes from both teams saw very few chances being created.
The second half would not be as close as the first, and with the very first play replacement centre Donnovan Marais continued his good form in the match with his second try, which was once again converted by Schoeman to extend the lead to 22-3. Tuks did not let TUT breathe and just minutes after scoring was once again over the try line, this time courtesy of flyhalf Tian Schoeman to score Tuks’s bonus-point try. TUT defence looked tired and Tuks took advantage with five more tries to take the lead to 66-3. The match, however, may very well be remembered for the try scored by GD Kotzé, which saw the winger sidestep defender after defender to score a dazzling try from near the halfway line.
“We had a slow start, but we managed to get our act together and in the end it was a satisfactory performance. It is definitely something to build on for the rematch against Police,” commented coach Schoeman. Tuks now lead the pack with 59 points after 13 matches. Second on the table is Police, just one point behind with 58 points.
Photo: Kobus Barnard