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Rugby | Varsity Cup

Chean Roux © Gallo Images

No love lost for Varsity Cup final



There’ll be no love lost on Monday when traditional Varsity Cup rivals Tuks and Maties face off in the quest for this year’s title at LC de Villiers, especially after a number of prickly comments between the two coaches as the teams prepare for the final match.

Tuks coach Nollis Marais has laughed off what he says is “firewood being lit under Tuks’ name” as he prepares his charges to go one better than last year and win their first Varsity Cup title.

There is no doubt the partnership with the Blue Bulls Rugby Union has helped Tuks in the past two seasons. Promising players have been filtering into the Varsity ranks with a vision of eventually moving up into provincial rugby.

But Marais believes there “is no love lost” for this clash, especially as his opposite number Chean Roux has, according to Marais, made a few disparaging comments about the Tuks campaign.

“Chean likes to light the firewood and try and throw us off,” Marais laughed, “We’ve been told we’re not a true Varsity Cup team, we’ve been told that we’re on a downward curve. We’re not letting any of that talk affect us.”

Marais believes his team’s challenge is a lot better than last year, where they sneaked into the final, only to lose at home to UCT.

“We’ve had great preparation in these past few weeks, and this year we had a lot more home games, which did us well. The team has grown from the experience and we’re definitely a better side than we were in the final last year.”

The team is set to welcome back Jono Ross from Vodacom Cup duty, with the impressive form of Ockie Kruger giving the Tuks team a mean loose trio.

And for Marais, there isn’t any other team he would rather play.

“I’m just happy that the guys came through the Vodacom Cup games unscathed and they’re ready for this big final. It’s a wonderful occasion to have in Pretoria, to have North versus South and if we had to choose our final, I wouldn’t choose any other team to play against than Maties.”

Come Monday though, in front of a partisan crowd and motivated to the brim, Tukkies will fancy their chances against their traditional rivals.

Its unfinished business for them, and this time they want to win.

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