Coming into the Top 4 phase of the Carlton Cup, have your achievements in the USSA competition had a significant effect on the team’s morale and their belief that they can defend their title?
Claiming the much sought after USSA championship title for only the second time in the 20-year history of the tournament was a huge morale and confidence booster. We succeeded because every player and management team member lived the dream that we were meant to be the 2014 champions. I am very proud of them all.

Has the withdrawal of the Eastern Eagles from your first fixture in the Top 4 phase negatively affected your planning and the team’s preparations?
We would have loved to play, but missing out on one match does not put the season’s preparation in jeopardy.

The other two teams participated in the first round of fixtures and UP-Tuks 1 did not. Do you think this gives them an advantage over you, especially in terms of match fitness?
Not at all. We are without any doubt the fittest and best conditioned team in the Carlton League.

Earlier in the competition the side lost to Pretoria Police at home and now you are set to play them again in the final. How well has the team progressed since then and do you now know what to expect from them in your next game?
It will be war on 9 August and we have most definitely learned from the mistakes that led to our downfall in the first round.

The team was dominant in the round-robin phase of the competition. Does this have any bearing on your chances of success in the Top 4 phase?
We were not as dominant as we would have liked to be since we lost to Police in the first round. The withdrawal of the Eastern Eagles resulted in us making the final. We will play Police on 9 August at Loftus Versfeld B. The remaining two second round matches will be used for fine-tuning.

Are you using this competition in any way to prepare for next year’s Varsity Cup competition?
No. The focus is squarely on defending the Carlton Cup title. The 2015 Varsity Cup pre-season preparation only starts in November and the squad will mostly comprise players outside the Carlton Cup group of 2014.



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