A belief in their ability and their playing structures saw the University of Johannesburg win the Varsity Sevens rugby tournament for the first time in Durban at the weekend.
Although winning only five of their nine pool games – they lost three and drew one – UJ were able to claw their way into the last four after a narrow 15-12 win against University of Pretoria.
They then peaked at the right time, said coach Patrick Ross-Allen, to outplay North-West University and the University of Free State in the playoff games on Sunday.
“When we took our power play in the final against Kovsies we scored two tries, so that was 20 points and it made a big difference,” he said after they defeated the Bloemfontein team 32-5.
The power-play rules in Varsity Sevens allow each team to nominate a minute in which any tries scored are worth 10 points.
Earlier they had defeated NWU-Pukke 19-5 in the semifinals, reversing a 22-0 loss they suffered against the same opponents in their opening match on Friday.
Ross-Allen said he always felt the team could do well in this annual event.
“When we heard we were in the semis, it strengthened the belief in the squad.
“They guys not only believed in themselves, they believed in the players next to them, as well as in the structures we had put in place.”
He felt the triumph would be a boost for UJ sevens rugby.
“This will send out a message about what we can do. It really means a lot to us in our efforts to promote this format of the game.”