UCT Ikeys 7s coach Christiaan Esterhuizen said he is satisfied that his team won the Plate section of this year’s Varsity Sevens after having a difficult first two days at the event.
The Cape team finished in eighth place on the overall standings after bagging just two wins from their nine matches in the first two rounds. After having just qualified for the Plate section on points difference, UCT then beat Maties in the semis and UWC in the final, both in the final minute of the games, to walk away with some silverware and an overall 5th place.
“During the previous two days we lost so many matches in that last few minutes where a try was scored against us, so it was nice to eventually get luck on our side and to pull-off some wins,” Esterhuizen said.
“In Sevens rugby anything can happen until the last play. It is quite nice to win the important matches and come away with a trophy at the end.”
Esterhuizen said it was an especially good feeling winning the Plate after two victories against their fellow Western Cape rivals, whom they lost against on Day One.
“Maties is always a big match for us in any form, whether it be in fifteens or Sevens. We play each other so often in warm-up matches so it was special to get a win over them in a big tournament.
“UWC, on the other hand, have been a force in Sevens over the last few years and they have had the better of us. It was nice to finally get a win over them in the final,” he added.
Esterhuizen believes his team’s poor showing in the round robin stage was due to the fact that they did not have enough time to prepare for this year’s event.
“We did not have the luxury like other universities to rest our players and don’t let them play fifteens. We had two league matches leading up to the tournament. We played Tygerberg the week before and then the Wednesday before tournament we played Durbell, who are the national club champions. So my players were tired.
“They did not have enough time to get out of that fifteens mind-set into a Sevens one. Only by the second day we started to get into our Sevens mind-set. That is why we had a slow start because we had to get over the niggle from league rugby,” he said.
The coach believes that UCT needs to prioritise Sevens more if they are to have any chance of being title contenders in the future.
“It is hard to prepare if your university does not buy into Sevens. Maties, Shimlas and Pukke get the support they need.
“It depends on your university if they buy into that then you will have the time to prepare,” said Esterhuizen
The tournament played at Villager FC was won by UFS Kovsies who beat UP Tuks. Kovsies added this trophy hot on the heels of their first Varsity Cup trophy just a forthnight ago.