'No one panicked and everyone stepped up'

FNB Varsity Cup

FNB UP-Tuks captain Lincoln Daniels says his team kept their composure during the dying stages of the FNB Varsity Cup final in Stellenbosch.

The visitors trailed 23-20 with three minutes remaining when the hosts made the fatal error of kicking the ball straight to Stefan Coetzee. The FNB UP-Tuks fullback beat three defenders before putting scrumhalf Bernard van der Linde away for the match-winning try.

The dramatic 29-23 victory saw FNB UP-Tuks equal FNB Maties' record of five FNB Varsity Cup titles.

"When it mattered, no one panicked and everyone stepped up," said Daniels. "Credit must go to John-Laffnie de Jager, our psychologist, who has done some amazing stuff."

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FNB UP-Tuks coach Nico Luus said he changed his team's tactics at half-time when they trailed 20-10.

"Maties played brilliantly in the first 20 minutes. We were just sort of hanging in there. Maties dominated in the scrums and lineouts, but we won the small battles.

"During half-time, I made a few tactical changes. It paid off. In the latter stages of the game, our forwards started to dominate.

"All and all, it was a fantastic team effort. I am so proud of the team."

FNB UP-Tuks flank Stephan Smit, who made a match-saving tackle at a crucial stage of the game, was deservedly named the FNB Player that Rocks.

"It has been a privilege to be one of the boys," he said. "We showed character when it mattered. We had to as part of Tuks' sports culture is to never give up. You can't give up if you play to honour Tuks' stripes."

HIGHLIGHTS: FNB Varsity Cup final

Photos: Luigi Bennett/Varsity Cup