UP-Tuks rule the Young Guns roost
YOUNG GUNS FINAL: UP-Tuks claimed their fourth Young Guns title in five years following a comprehensive 47-24 victory over UJ in the Young Guns Final on Tuesday.
Perfect overhead conditions greeted the players and they delivered exciting running rugby in the opening stages of the encounter.
Tuks got their noses ahead when centre Jordan Holgate split open the UJ defence to score under the uprights. Flyhalf Christo Hamman added the extras to hand Tuks an 8-0 lead.
UJ levelled matters in the 11th minute when No.8 Morney Moos made his way over the line, with flyhalf Eduard Fouche adding the extras. Neither side were able to add further points by the first strategy break.
Tuks regrouped during the brief break and took the game by the scruff of the neck. Hamman bagged two tries in quick succession, converting one, to hand Tuks a comfortable 21-8 lead at the half-time interval.
Tuks dominated the possession stats at the resumption of play and pinned UJ inside their 22 for lengthy periods. UJ's resistance was short-lived though as they leaked a further three tries - one converted - to find themselves trailing 8-39 after 54 minutes of play.
Holgate grabbed his brace, while hooker Jan-Henning Campher and flank Jaco Bezuidenhout were credited with those scores while Hamman could only manage to convert one of them.
UJ began to see more possession and turned it into points as the match drew to a close as they launched a late comeback to setup a tense finish. After some continuity the ball was spread to the backline and neat hands saw wing Odwa Nkunjana sprint his way over for a try. Fouche made no mistake with the extras to reduce the deficit to 23 points.
That deficit became 15 points a few minutes later when replacement scrumhalf Tristan Eve sniped his way over the line. Once again, Fouche added the extras to trail 39-24.
UJ's hopes of a dramatic comeback were dashed with eight minutes remaining in the match when Tuks' replacement hooker Johan Grobbelaar used his bulk to smash his way over the line and put the result beyond any reasonable doubt.
For UJ Young Guns:
Tries: Moos, Nkunjana, Eve
Cons: Fouche 3
For UP-Tuks Young Guns:
Tries: Holgate 2, Hamman 2, Campher, J Bezuidenhout, Grobbelaar
Cons: Hamman 4
UJ Young Guns: 15 Curtis Jonas, 14 Odwa Nkunjana, 13 Johann Vermaak, 12 Johannes van Tonder, 11 Vuyo Shongwe, 10 Eduard Fouche, 9 Wynand Botha, 8 Morney Moos, 7 Juandre Michau, 6 James Venter, 5 Kevin du Randt, 4 Adriaan Bester, 3 Sarel Smith, 2 Le Roux Baard, 1 Hannriel Coetzee.
Replacements: 16 Willem du Plessis, 17 Johan Meyer, 18 Thokozani Skhosana, 19 Martin Mangwiro, 20 Tristan Eve, 21 Morne van der Berg, 22 Jonathan Koyana, 23 Stephen Bashera.
UP-Tuks Young Guns: 15 Ivan Smit, 14 Mervano da Silva, 13 Heino Bezuidenhout, 12 Jordan Holgate, 11 Ciaran Dayaram, 10 Christo Hamman, 9 Raegan Oranje, 8 Denzil Hill, 7 Jaco Bezuidenhout, 6 Eduan Lubbe, 5 Hendre Stassen, 4 Sam Mitchell, 3 Jaco Holtzhausen, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Franco van der Berg.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Ruben van Heerdan, 19 Dean van der Westhuizen, 20 Stephan Enslin, 21 Sentle Lehoko, 22 Brendan Owen, 23 Tiny Mukhari.
Referee: Eduan Nel