Fairytale victory blows VC wide open

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:38
Large uj celebrates 2017 800

VARSITY CUP REACTION: UJ's dramatic 18-17 victory over UP-Tuks not only handed them their first victory over the Pretoria side in seven years, but also blew the Varsity Cup competition wide open.

Tuks' defeat now means that each of the nine participating teams has suffered a defeat in the competition, making it a tighter race to the playoffs than initially expected.

Head coach Werner Janse van Rensburg is under no illusion that the competition is finely-poised, and makes no secret of the fact that the Round Four result has once again proven that any side can be beaten on any given night.

"The victory meant more to us than just the four points on the scoreboard, simply due to the fact that we have not beaten them in the competition for seven years. We now know that on any given day, anyone can beat anyone, so for us, it's [the remainder of the competition] going to be a week by week thing.

"It was important for us to beat Tuks, which now means that every team has lost at least one match and in doing so, have managed to turn the competition on its head.

"We had our backs against the wall [coming into the game] and the urgency was certainly there. We had a firm belief [at half-time] that we could get the result. We showed a lot of character defensively, even when we received those yellow cards.

"Despite being down to 14 players, we managed to keep ourselves in the game and even led on the scoreboard. I thought the guys made a marked improvement from two weeks ago [losing 29-47 to Shimlas] because of the guts and game management they showed.

"Our approach to the game was no different to any of our previous matches, the only difference was the fact that we stepped up on the day," Janse van Rensburg told rugby365.com.

Janse van Rensburg has a firm belief that his team is still in touch to reach the playoffs.

"There are still five matches to go and if we look at the current log standings, we have played three of the top four teams already. There is no doubt that we can still make it [to the play-offs] but it is a long way to go.

"The important part now for us will be to pick up bonus point victories as I feel that could give us the edge when you consider the fact that those type of bonus points have been difficult to secure. So if we can go on a two-match run where we are picking up that type of bonus point, it will make a difference in the end," he added.

By Tauriq Ebrahim

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Team P W D L Pts
Maties 7 6 1 0 31
NWU-Pukke 6 5 0 1 25
Wits 7 4 1 2 23
UJ 6 4 0 2 21
UCT-Ikeys 6 3 0 3 15
Shimlas 6 3 0 3 14
UP-Tuks 6 1 0 5 7
CUT-Ixias 6 1 0 5 6
NMMU-Madibaz 6 0 0 6 3