The 2018 Maties Young Guns wrote their names in the history books of Maties Rugby by becoming the first Maties team ever to win the u.20 tournament of the Varsity Cup series.
Maties won a fiercely contested final against Tuks at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Monday. Maties won the match 45-37 after trailing 8-24 at halftime.
The lock Ben-Jason Dixon was named player of the match. It was very appropriate that a forward received the award, as Maties' forward pack held their own against a formidable Tuks pack and even managed to dominate in certain aspects.
After 40 minutes it looked like Tuks’ power and speed would be too much for Maties, but whatever coaches Christoff Lotter and Kabamba Floors had to say at halftime, worked magic.
At the start of the second half Dan Jooste scored the second of his four tries and that was just what Maties needed. Dixon crossed the try-line five minutes later. With the score at 24-21 for Tuks it became like a boxing match with one blow (try) followed by another. With 21 minutes left centre Henlo Marais scored to make it all square. Jooste's fourth try with three minutes on the clock gave Maties the lead for the very first time in the match, and Tuks’ reign came to an end.
Captain Anton du Toit played in last year’s defeat against Tuks, but nothing could stop him from smiling this time.
"I have to say thank you for everyone's incredible support throughout the season. We are bringing home this trophy to all of you."
Lotter referred to the players who played a role during the season but could not play in the final because of injuries. "Let's also think of those guys who gave their everything and would have also liked to play today."
Maties Sport Chief Director Ilhaam Groenewald was in the stands too.
“I was concerned at halftime. However, noting our steady performance throughout the season I retained my hope for a better second half. Indeed, our team did not disappoint and went all out, and it was tries galore, leading to us winning the trophy.
"Our Maties Young Guns made history by winning the 2018 title for the first time and this is indicative of our investment at all levels of the game, resulting in an amazing group of players, supported by a committed and passionate team management. Winning the trophy during the University’s centenary celebrations made the win extra special."
FNB Maties Young Guns: 45 Tries: Dan Jooste (4) Henlo Marais, Ben-Jason Dixon
Conversions: Anton Du Toit (5)
Tries: Cameron Hufke (3), Marnus Potgieter, Stefan Smit
Conversions: Cameron Hufke (4)
Photo provided by Varsity Sports