Krust (black scrum cap) in action in the 2008 Varsity Cup. (photo adrianstanford.co.za)
Shortly after the 2008 VC final, that was so heartbreakingly lost to Maties in injury time, Craig Kleu wrote this article for his employer, Personal Trust’s internal newsletter – it is almost a year old, but more relevant than ever.
Craig, known to most Ikeys as ‘Krust’, a UCT veteran and former WP Vodacom flanker was part of last year’s UCT side that set the inaugural Varsity Cup alight and has shared some great insight into Rugby and Ikey Tigers memories and opportunities.
This year’s Tigers are about to embark on the “final” stretch of their 2009 Varsity Cup adventure. Fingers crossed, in four week’s time one of them may write a delirious article on what it is like to lift the trophy.
“It’s been two, thoroughly depressing weeks since we narrowly lost to Stellenbosch in the VC final. At first, as were all of us, I was extremely disappointed at how things eventually turned out at the Danie Craven Stadium. But as the days have passed I’ve had time to reflect on the result and the entire tournament and have come to realize what an amazing achievement our young team accomplished. Sure, losing in the last minute will hurt for many years, and it’s probably a result we’ll forever look back on with a tinge of regret, but the important things to remember are the amazing, awe inspiring achievements we accomplished as a team along the way.
Starting the tournament, seeded seventh, we set out to turn a few heads with our flamboyant style of attacking rugby, upset a few of the bigger institutions and hopefully make the play offs. We wanted to lay the platform for a new era of Ikeys rugby. Speaking honestly, I don’t think any of us ever dreamt of winning the tournament, nor could we have predicted what eventually transpired. A story of breathtaking success!
I’m still dumbstruck by our achievements!
We finished six points clear at the top of the log after the group stages, consecutively beating every team in the tournament en route to the final. We conceded the fewest tries, scored the most and staged two – not one but two – of the most daring fight backs in the history of Intervarsity rugby. The second in which we scored 22 unanswered points in 16 minutes to beat Pukke, the ‘pre-tournament favorites’, to qualify for the Final. I think it is fair to say that UCT played a huge role in making the Varsity Cup the success it has been.
The Final will forever be a ‘what if’ memory for me but I honestly believe we learnt more about ourselves in defeat than we would have in victory. Our successes were grown out of love and respect for each other, hard work on the practice field and solid preparation off it.
We put our famous old club back into dinnertime conversation, sold out the Danie Craven Stadium for the first time in thirty years, and shook the bed rock of South African rugby.
I’m more proud to be an Ikey now than I’ve ever been. And to top it all off – there’s always next year…….. “
By Craig Kleu
Krust, now 26 and too ‘old’ for the VC will be in action for UCT A, against False Bay on Saturday – more info here