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17 October 2022
Varsity 7s Victory a Huge Boost for UWC Rugby

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) rugby team’s historic victory at the Varsity 7s Rugby last weekend has been a long time coming and could not have been realised at a better time.

The 21-19 win over the University of Free State in the final at Tuks Sport Stadium in Pretoria – the first time that UWC brought home the Varsity 7s title – came during a difficult year for the university rugby team. It came when a lot was expected -  expectations left unfulfilled as their misfortunes saw the 15s rugby team relegated from the Varsity Cup to the Varsity Shield next year.

“For the UWC rugby team, this win is a much needed break, especially after the year we had,” commented captain Peter Williams. “It was a year with a lot of promise coming into the rugby season, and we didn’t deliver at the start but how we ended it is something great.”

Having fallen short of winning Varsity 7s a few times previously, Williams believes teamwork has done the trick this season.

“I think what worked for us is just trusting each other. Knowing the guy inside or outside has your back and sticking to our processes and our systems from the start.”

His sentiments were echoed by head coach, Clement Trout, who added that the team reflected on previous experiences where they needed to improve as players, the coaching team and the support staff prior to the event.

“After a long season, for two weeks, we prepared for two national tournaments and everybody’s role was evaluated. We talked about how we should approach the tournament and worked on the mentality of the team to make it a team effort with everybody putting their heads to the plan. As a result, the team had a good mentality and willingness to work for each other. UWC always rises above challenges, after all.”

The tournament was the first one post COVID-19, and every team wanted to be the first to win it. But UWC conquered, and Trout believes the victory is a big deal for the university.

“It was the only trophy outstanding in our cabinet as the 7s team, and we have been working hard towards this one. This victory is for everyone in the club, in the Department of Sport Administration and in the university as a whole.”

Williams receives the trophy from USC CEO, Flip van Zyl

Williams added that for the players, the triumph means the world.

“To give you an insight or an adjective as to how the feeling in the team is right now would do an injustice. It would be below what we are feeling in the team because there were a lot of players who were going through a lot of things prior to this tournament and leading up to this victory. For them this is like a breakthrough moment. There is a saying that goes: ‘Everything happens at the right time’. It's one of those moments when things happen for us at the right time.

“Personally, it’s a title that has eluded the squad for a long time. I mean, I have been in the system for five years. I have been there and I have seen the guys falling short. I know how devastating it was to fall short. To be that player who has been there and now here with a new generation to attain that title is just an indescribable feeling. No words could possibly do justice to describe how good it is and what it means to me.”

UWC 7s rugby team have one more tournament, the Western Province Club Championships, to round off the year. They hope their Varsity 7s Rugby tournament success will filter through the club going forward to the new year.

But for Williams and his teammates, now it’s time to enjoy the moment.

Coach Clement Trout is carried aloft by the UWC 7s Rugby squad - winners of the 2022 Varsity 7s Rugby tournament

Gallery images courtesy ASEM Engage/Varsity Sports. Graphic courtesy UWC Sport.