The FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns claimed their fifth Young Guns title after they dismantled FNB UJ Young Guns 47-24 in Johannesburg.
The FNB Tuks youngsters started the match as the underdogs with FNB UJ sitting pretty at the top of the log but the underdog status was quickly shelved after FNB Tuks ran in three tries to one by the end of the first half.
It was much of the same in the second half despite FNB UJ Young Guns scoring a few tries of their own. Lock Hendre Stassen walked away with the Player that Rocks award, but there were several FNB Tuks players who stuck up their hands, including flyhalf Boeta Hamman, flank Jaco Bezuidenhout and centre Jordan Holgate.
FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns head coach, Jaco Pienaar, is a happy man after steering his team to his first title but credits the University of Johannesburg for a great season.
“It was an awesome final. I think it was their first year in a final. UJ had an incredible season and attacked well which saw them score a lot of tries throughout their campaign,” said Pienaar.
“In terms of our performance, we were happy that the guys did not retreat into their shells during the opening minutes of the match. They attacked and defended well from the first kickoff. We definitely peaked at the right time,” he added.
It was not a one-man show in terms of the coaching staff and Pienaar is adamant that his management team deserves as much credit as he does, especially when one considers the task they had to overcome.
“We as the management team had the difficult task of grooming a very young squad to compete in this year’s competition. Most of the players joined us straight out of school. Our main concern was to just improve week in and week out which we managed to do,” Pienaar said.
“On that note I’d like to thank Dewey Swartbooi (assistant coach), Hendy Seerane (team manager), Ghafoer Luckan (conditioner), Lance Lemmetjies (physiotherapist), Dr Santa-Marie (team doctor), Vainon Willis (technical advisor), Akhona Faleni (logistics manager), Mark Nicholls (rehab), Dr Jannie Botha (mental doctor) as well as all our players for a great season and a memorable final,” he added.
By Dan Lombard