DAN LOMBARD

FNB UP-Tuks beat FNB UCT 24-16 at the Tuks Rugby Stadium last Monday. The team bounced back and scored three tries after a first-round loss to FNB NWU-Pukke the previous week.

Although on the losing side, UCT dominated most of the first 40 minutes of the game. Tuks had to rely on a resolute defence to keep the visitors at bay. Tuks’s Jean Cook scored the only try of the first half when he scored off the back of a rolling maul. Tian Schoeman added the conversion and Tuks went into half time with an 8-0 lead.

The second half proved to be better for Tuks. Shaun Adendorff scored a try early in the half, with Schoeman successfully converting it.

UCT continued to apply pressure and hooker Michael Willemse spun out of a tackle to crash over for a well-deserved try. Ross Jones-Davies converted it to reduce the gap to 16-8.

Rock-solid defence from Tuks saw UCT lose the ball five metres from Tuks’s try line after a promising attack from UCT. Courtnall Skosan pounced on the loose ball and ran 95m to score under the posts. Baby Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard converted the try to give Tuks a 24-8 lead.

UCT scored late in the match after a team effort enabled Dillyn Leyds to beat Clayton Blommetjies to score. Leyds converted, pushing the score to 24-16 and allowing UCT to finish the match with a bonus point.

Although the Tuks team produced a much improved performance for the first home game of the tournament, mistakes and missed opportunities cost the defending champions points again. Derick Hougaard, Tuks kicking coach and former Springbok and Blue Bulls flyhalf, said, “There is so much talent in this team. If they can click into gear they will be a very special unit. There are still a few things that need work on, but you don’t peak in February.”

Tuks’s stand-in captain Wian Liebenberg agreed with Hougaard. “The game was very frustrating as we had a lot of opportunities that we didn’t use. We need to work on these in order to be ready for the Shimlas game next Monday,” he told Perdeby.

Photo: Kobus Barnard

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