LAURA SCHLEBUSCH

On Monday 7 February, Tuks 1 had a great start to their Varsity Cup campaign when they beat NMMU 37-8. The FNB Varsity Cup is one of the biggest inter-varsity rugby competitions on the sports calendar and Tuks 1 are tipped as a team to watch in this year’s tournament. Following promising performances in their warm up matches – in which Tuks 1 claimed victories against Centurion, Police and provincial side the Valke – the team is feeling optimistic about their chances.

Wesley Dunlop, Tuks1 captain and flyhalf, told Perdeby that he is honoured to be selected as captain and that he enjoys leading his teammates in what he describes as “a wonderful competition”. Dunlop says he and his teammates are feeling confident and excited about the Varsity Cup. Although the likes of Ikeys, Maties and UJ are their traditional rivals, Dunlop says Tuks 1 will not be complacent in their other matches. He say, “Every team is a big game for us, we are concentrating on one game at a time.”

Tuks 1 displayed a noticeable improvement in form in their warm up games which Dunlop attributes to a change in the team’s training schedule which now involves three training sessions a day from Monday to Friday. He also gives credit to the the team’s conditioning coach.

Among Dunlop’s aspirations for the year are captaining Tuks 1 to an FNB Varsity Cup win and, on a personal note, he hopes to score the most points within the competition. Ultimately, he hopes to play for the Blue Bulls in this year’s Super 15 competition.

Perdeby also caught up with former Tukkie, Okkie Kruger, who now plays for the Blue Bulls and the Springbok Sevens. The flanker, who went from strength to strength during the 2010 season, said he would come out to support Tuks 1 at their Varsity Cup matches if his schedule allows it.

Semi-finals will be played on 28 March and the final will take place on 11 April.

Spectators will notice the return of the Pink Shorts campaign as each team’s captain will wear pink shorts in the first round of matches. From the second week onwards, the man of the match from each match will wear the pink shorts until the end of the competition. This year’s Pink Shorts campaign is geared at raising awareness about violence against women.

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