All eyes will be on Maties, UWC, NWU and UP-Tuks at the Varsity 7s tournament as Durban welcomes the best university sevens teams this coming weekend.
The University of Pretoria finished last year’s regular matches with seven wins and scored the highest points with a staggering 239. Their seven bonus points allowed the men from Pretoria to secure an impressive 35 log points and second place overall. UP-Tuks faltered in the semi-final against Maties and had to settle for fourth place after losing to NWU in the bronze medal match. Sevens head coach, Andries Kruger, is confident despite only having the USSA Week to prepare.
“The boys are looking sharp on the practice field but now we need to turn that into wins. Overall, we are excited to get going,” said Kruger.
NWU claimed top spot on the log with eight wins and five bonus points as they finished with 37 log points. The team from Potchefstroom stumbled in the semi-final against UWC but made amends in the bronze medal match against UP-Tuks. NWU 7s head coach, Pieter van den Berg, believes that they had what it took to lift the trophy in 2016 and that they will be gunning for it this year.
“We have not changed much as we believe that we have the right formula to win. Right now, we are just focusing on making the playoffs as we know that this tournament will be tough. It goes without saying that we want to win,” said Van den Berg.
UWC finished third on the log in last year’s Varsity 7s tournament and did well to knock out UP-Tuks in the Cup semi-finals before their joyride was stopped in its tracks by Maties. UWC have lost the services of several core players from last year but head coach, Clement Trout, is quietly confident in terms of their preparation.
“We may have a vastly different squad for this year’s tournament but we have stuck to what works for us. We prepared well in the run-up to Varsity 7s and I believe we have what it takes to win,” said Trout.
Maties showed in 2016 that it is not how you begin but rather how you finish as Stellenbosch University overcame a fourth place log finish to win the coveted trophy. Maties head coach, Ian Campbell-McGeachy, understands that there is a target on their backs as defending champions but they will focus on their own processes at the 2017 edition of Varsity 7s.
“This is a new year, new environment and new tournament and we are approaching it as such. We have our eyes on first place obviously but we will take it match by match,” said Campbell-McGeachy.
Be sure to catch all the action on Super Sport as the next generation of sevens stars do battle in Durban at the Varsity 7s tournament. Proudly brought to you by First National Bank, Steers and Samsung.
By Dan Lombard