FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns clinched their fifth Young Guns title in six attempts when they held off a determined FNB Junior Maties outfit to beat the Stellenbosch Under-20 team 37-42 in what can only be described as a pulsating North-South final.
The men from Pretoria breezed through their North Section opponents with their only difficult match being a rain soaked affair against FNB UJ Young Guns in Johannesburg. What makes their season even more memorable is that they played both the semi-final and final away from home.
Regular captain and hooker, Johan Grobbelaar, did not play in the final due to his Junior Springbok commitments but he did watch from the sidelines as his charges secured a nail biting final.
“We made a few unforced errors in the first half that Maties capitalised on but we pulled through in the end. I’m a very proud captain and salute the squad on a very good season overall,” said Grobbelaar.
Head coach, Dewey Swartbooi, helped steer the team to victory in his first season at the helm and puts their success down to the players’ attitude while acknowledging a few key players.
“The boys had the right mindset from the get-go. From preseason training right through to the final, their mental approach to the competition was second to none. They really wanted to win and they went out and did it,” said Swartbooi.
“It goes without saying that this was a collective effort but I feel that I should mention a few players who stuck up their hands. Boeta Hamman really led from the front as well as the Junior Springbok contingent within our squad. I’m proud of the character shown by all the players in the squad,” he added.
FNB UP-Tuks road to victory:
Beat FNB Wits Young Guns 0-47
Beat FNB UJ Young Guns 0-8
Beat FNB Wits Young Guns 94-0
Beat FNB UJ Young Guns 74-29
Beat UFS Young Guns 21-45 (semi-final)
Beat FNB Junior Maties 37-42 (final)
By Dan Lombard