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UP-Tuks building foundation for future

After falling at the semi-final hurdle last year, FNB UP-Tuks are using the 2024 FNB Varsity Cup Women’s tournament as a rebuilding phase.  


After falling at the semi-final hurdle last year, FNB UP-Tuks are using the 2024 FNB Varsity Cup Women’s tournament as a rebuilding phase.  


Coach Lizanne Jacobs is still confident that her side is in contention for this year’s title despite some recruitment challenges.  


“Last year we faced the challenge of recruiting enough students for the Varsity Cup. In response, we implemented bursary trials to identify fresh talent within the youth rugby systems. While the outcome was remarkable, some players fell short of the university’s academic standard. Our primary hurdle at the start of this year was addressing the academic performance of our players in 2023. 


“I am confident in our team’s preparations phase, if we can rally together as a cohesive unit our competitors will certainly face a significant challenge.” 


The Pretoria outfit managed to keep six of their key players for this season and together with their recruits, Jacobs says she is confident in her troops.  


“This year we aspire for a more favourable outcome while recognizing that we are still in the developmental phase. Our focus remains on growth and building a foundation for the future. 


“With only six senior players remaining from last year, their experience will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the outcome of our games and guiding us towards success.”  


Jacobs believes her side will adapt easily to the mix of old players and incoming recruits, like Anja van Heerden who transitioned from netball to rugby.  


“Key senior players like Jessica Mare, Mamello Mustafa, and Khesilina Rens are pivotal figures to watch. Additionally, emerging talents such as Sanita Mkhwanazi, Lerato Tshabalala, and Sinegugu Mncwane alongside Van Heerden, bring a fresh dynamic to our team.  


Tuks will begin their campaign away to defending champions FNB Maties.  


“Our match against Maties in Stellenbosch presents a formidable challenge. However, our preparations are on track and the upcoming warm-up game will provide valuable insights into our team’s cohesion and capabilities in real-game scenarios,” says Jacobs.  


SQUAD (subject to change) 


Amaani Williams, Angel Ngobeni, Arnell Primo, Bonang Mahlomola, Dikiledi Morobi, Gina Moya, Innocentia Kgosana, Iviwe Dumezweni, Jessica Maré, Jessica Sithole, Kaylee van Staden, Kheselina Rens, Kirstin Stead, Lerato Tshabalala, Mamello Mustafa, Marianna Louw, Marisna Godsil, Mbali Ndlovu, Micky Kapa, Mihle Jada, Nakisani Thukuta, Owethu Cindi, Precious Tlaka, Sanitha Mkhwanzi, Sesihle Maguga, Sibulele Ngcana, Sincediwe (Zu) Majikijela, Sinegugu Mncwabe, Thandi Mokatse, Thobeka Ncube, Thobile Msizazwe, Tristain Coetzer, Tshelisehang (Tsidi) Pholosa, Yolanda Malengeni. 


by Lehlogonolo Ditshego  


For a full fixture list, click HERE.  


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