Third time's the charm for Pukke

Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:06
Large pukke 2016 varsity champions 800

REACTION: NWU-Pukke hoisted their first Varsity Cup title at the third time of asking when they travelled to Stellenbosch and edged Maties 7-6 at the Danie Craven Stadium.

Pukke headed into the 2016 Final with fresh memories of their two previous losses - UCT-Ikeys in 2014 and UFS-Shimlas in 2015 Final. However, those wounds have now healed.

Under the guidance of former Springbok Sevens captain, Johnathan Mokuena, the Potchefstroom students finally broke their duck and he credits the players' belief rather than "Mokuena magic."

"[The victory] is definitely not Mokuena magic, I think the boys really believed [they could win] because they did all the hard work. My job was simply to get them to believe because they really wanted it. It was a massive team performance.

"The message [to the team] was that we never wanted doubt to creep in. It's a Final and opportunities would be scarce but we needed to stick with our game plan and when it mattered, we took the chance. Credit to the players though, they saw the pressure they were putting on Maties at scrum time and kept plugging away," Mokuena said.

Mokuena added that two key factors contributed to their victory.

"Conceding 50 points against Maties [earlier in the campaign] was our turning point because after that, we dug deep and spirits were lifted.

"The one thing that counted in our favour was the lead up to the final. We pretty much had knock-out matches all along. We had to beat UCT, we had to beat Shimlas, we had to beat UJ and I think that helped us prepare better with regards to being under the pump for 80 minutes," he added.

Pukke captain, Jeandre Rudolph, reserved special praise for Mokuena's predecessor, current Sharks assistant coach Robert du Preez.

"Credit must go to Robert du Preez. He played his part in the two previous finals, so this victory is for him as well," Rudolph stated.

By Tauriq Ebrahim

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
VARSITY CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Maties 8 6 2 0 34
NWU-Pukke 8 6 1 1 33
UJ 8 5 1 2 27
Wits 8 4 1 3 25
Shimlas 8 5 0 3 24
UCT-Ikeys 8 4 0 4 21
UP-Tuks 8 2 1 5 15
CUT-Ixias 8 1 0 7 8
NMMU-Madibaz 8 0 0 8 4