The University of Johannesburg shaded UP-Tuks by one point to give themselves a major lift on the Varsity Cup log with their first win of the season in Johannesburg on Monday.
After defeats against NWU-Pukke and Free State, UJ held off a late Tuks challenge to record a thrilling 18-17 triumph, their first Varsity Cup win over the Pretoria side since 2010.
Flyhalf Divan Nel was the hero of the night for the home team, kicking six penalties to be named the Player That Rocks.
Tuks scored a try late in the game to make it a one-point margin, but the conversion to win the match went wide.
Coach Werner Janse van Rensburg was delighted with the team’s effort, saying they had shown a lot of character.
“There was a lot of pressure on them and they were under fire from their critics. Overcoming this, along with the home crowd support, was very satisfying to see.”
Following their earlier setbacks, Janse van Rensburg said they had focused on several areas.
“We needed better composure to cut down the error rate and, overall, for the players to serve the team and not themselves.”
He added it was difficult to single out any players on the night because everyone had contributed to the cause.
The UJ mentor said he would be calling for greater discipline in their remaining matches.
“Our penalty count is too high and it will be difficult to get results if we continue to pick up yellow cards.
“I think our scrum also needs to show improvement, but I am confident the guys will sort it out.”
Having picked up momentum, Janse van Rensburg said they needed to build on Monday’s performance.
“We have to be very careful of complacency when we face CUT in Bloemfontein on Monday,” he said.
“At home they are tough and we will have to realise the importance of continuing to improve.”