NATASHA RUSCH

The Maties Rugby sevens Men’s and Women’s teams were victorious during the Inter-Varsity tournament held on Saturday 29 September.

The Men’s team competed against UCT, UWC and CPUT, whilst the Women’s team competed against UCT. The men beat UCT 28-12, UWC 35-7, CPUT 24-14 andin the final they beat UCT 36-7. Inthe three matches against UCT the Women won 29-5 and 25-5, and inthe final they beat UCT by a largemargin with a score of 50-0.

Malcolm Kayes, the current captain of the Men’s 7’s team, said that the highlight of the tournament for him was the team’s spirit as the “guys were so happy, they expressed themselves clearly and worked cohesively as a unit out there on thefield”. Kayes referred to an instance where, during their match against UWC, they made a break from their 22 meter line and George Lourence chased the attacker and pulled him down just 2 meters from Maties’ try line. He said that “that sort of commitment sets the bar for us and just shows the ‘never die’ attitude that the team always has.”

Frederik van Zyl, a wing, who is inhis first year playing for the Men’s 7’sscored 3 tries that weekend. He said that the team has made a huge step up from their last USSA in Margate because they were now playing a “much more intelligent game”. Kayes said that the team on the whole is a young squad, but that in his opinion he said that “the Inter-Varsity weekend was a good platform for us to learn and grow as a squad going forward into the Varsity Sports 7’s Rugby Festival being held on the 5 and 6 October.”

Kayes and van Zyl both said that in competing at the Varsity Sports 7’s Rugby Festival they aim and hope to “bring home the trophy again”. Furthermore, van Zyl said that they are also aiming to be Maties’ most successful high performance unit of the year.

The Women’s 7’s team, coached by Johann Zeier and captained by Karrine Van Rooyen, was a team that was said to feel ‘empowered’ after their three matches. Running up to this event they trained vigorously for six weeks. Zeier said that before the Inter-Varsity tournament they had a goal, and it was a goal to be as competitive as possible in the games. The Women’s squad comprises of around 18 women who all had a chance to play and represent the side. Zeier said that about five orsix of the women were completely new to the sport, and that this tournament was their first game that they had ever played. With quite a big squad already, Karrine Van Rooyen also said that “Maties has been very supportive where they can in growing Women’s Rugby as a sport” and that their team is “excited to see what the future holds”.

The results prove that they played well and reached their expectations. Zeier said that “for me as a coach, my highlight was seeing every lady giving 100%, working extremely hard, being competitive, not holding back and getting stuck into every game.”

Rugby 7’s for women in Europe is currently a continuously growing sport. However, Zeier said that South Africa has been slow to catch on and hopes that soon it won’t just be the few university teams competing, but that the momentum will also catch on at schools. Karrine Van Rooyen said that she hopes that “this type of exposure will help get more girls involved in their Matie team too”.

At the end of the match, the UCT and Maties women huddled together and voiced that the winner of the tournament was “both ‘Rugby’ and women!” and that they hope that it is a step in the right direction, resulting in one day having enough women’s University rugby teams to participate in the USSA Varsity Sports 7s Rugby Festival.

Photo: Maties Sport