Tuks men’s sevens team will be out to achieve a unique hat-trick in student sevens rugby when they compete in Varsity 7s this coming weekend at Pirates Club, Greenside.
Lately, Tuks have been a dominant force in sevens rugby. Last October they won their first Varsity 7s title, while two weeks ago they ran out victors during the USSA 7s Tournament in Margate. Now the aim is to go back-to-back in Varsity 7s.
Despite their run of form, Tuks’ coach Dabeon Draghoender has made it clear to his charges that the biggest mistake they can make is to be obsessed with statistics.
“Sevens rugby is very unpredictable. One mistake at any crucial moment can decide the outcome of a game. That is why our approach will always be to take it one game at a time. You can’t think what your gameplan for a final is going to be when you are still contesting pool games.”
According to Draghoender, Tuks will be making three changes to the team that won the USSA Tournament; most significantly Lourens Pretorius is taking over from Dewald Naude as captain.
“We needed to give Lourens a break. Since last year’s Varsity 7s Tournament he has been basically playing non-stop for Tuks. As he is vital to our campaign, we needed to rest him, especially since he was hindered by a slight finger injury,” explained Draghoender.
“Stephan Smit and Raegan Oranje who were the other two key players during last year’s Varsity Tournament also need a break from playing.”
The 21-year old Stefan Coetzee who had the honour of scoring the try that set up Tuks’ victory against UJ in the USSA final is looking forward to playing sevens rugby again.
It will be only the second time that Coetzee, who learned his rugby skills on the fields of the Northern Cape, will be playing the shorter format of the game, but he is already hooked.
“I love playing sevens. In fact, I had a rethink about how I see my rugby career playing out. My goal is now to see if I can get to play for the Blitzbokke.”
Being 1.86m tall, weighing approximately 108kg and being able to run the 100m in a sub 11 second time certainly makes Coetzee an asset to any sevens team.
According to Draghoender, Coetzee is the ideal sevens forward as when he got the ball in hand, it sometimes takes two or more players to bring him to a stop.
“That is what you want in sevens as he pulls in the opposition defence, creating space for us to attack.”
It was Coetzee’s strength and speed that led to Tuks beating UJ in the USSA final. In dying seconds of the game, he picked up a pass from Naude and sped off like a rocket to the try line.
An opposition defender got hold of his leg as he was crossing the try line. Coetzee managed to shake him off and went on to dot down under the poles which made the conversion a mere formality.
Tickets to the #Varsity7sFest on 4-5 October 2019 at Pirates Club, Greenside can be purchased via the Varsity Sports App (iOS and Android) or here: https://varsitysportsa.plankton.mobi
By Wilhelm de Swardt (TuksSport Media)