UCT Under-20 coach Andrew ‘Gunner’ Hughes is adding the final touches to his team’s preparations ahead of the inaugural Varsity Young Guns competition.
The first-ever Young Guns competion gets underway on Monday, February 6 (click HERE for those fixtures!) and Hughes and his coaching team have been hard at work to whittle down their squad ahead of next month.
At present, they a squad of about 33/34 players in contention for selection, that after a few players became unavailable because of academic reasons. (All players in the Young Guns competition must be full-time students.)
“We’ve still got a good mix of players,” Hughes said.
“It’s an especially young side… as we have a longer-term plan… but everyone’s been gelling well and we’re looking forward to our first match against Shimlas.”
The UCT juniors underwent a series of trials ahead of their Christmas break, at the end of last year, and there’s a great amount of excitement amongst the coaching staff – made up of Hughes (head coach), Adriaan Stander (forwards coach) and Chris Groom – the father of UCT, WP and Stormers scrumhalf Nic- who will serve as the backs coach.
Hughes is working well in conjunction with Ikey Tigers first team coach Kevin Foote – “it’s important to have a good relationship” – and the squad has just finished a training camp at the Chrysalis Academy in Tokai.
“Everyone is very excited,” enthused Hughes. “But in reality, we’re heading into the unknown, so we’ll know a lot more when the tournament gets underway.”
Hughes will announce his squad – and captain – in the next few days ahead of the Young Guns’ starting date on February 6.