Monument beat Menlopark 36-34 in the Tuks Series final last Saturday, despite producing their worst performance of the season. THEO GARRUN reports.
The Krugersdorp side went into the game at Pretoria University’s LC de Villiers stadium as firm favourites, but Menlopark played superbly and very nearly pulled off an upset.
They led 34-28 with time just about up and looked set for their first Tuks Series title. But Monument then launched a series of forward surges at the line and captain Morné Brandon eventually crossed over to make it 34-33 in favour of Menlopark.
Instead of closing the game down, Menlo’s fullback tried to land a drop goal, but it was charged down and they were penalised at the ensuing ruck.
Monument flyhalf Byron-Lee Wentink kept his cool and slotted the kick to snatch victory and a third consecutive Tuks Series title.
Monnas coach Tjaart van der Walt was pleased with the result but not the performance, which he said was his team’s worst of the season.
‘Playing Grey College and Paarl Boys’ High in a three-day period last weekend obviously took a physical toll on the boys,’ he said. ‘We were listless and made far too many mistakes, which resulted in a penalty count that went heavily against us.
‘Still, when the chips were down and it looked like we were going to lose, the senior players stepped up and took responsibility, raising the spirits for that last effort, which saw us across the line.’
Monument’s U16 team also took the title, beating Menlopark 29-23 in that final.
Monument may well be the last winners of the Tuks Series trophy. There is talk that, from next year, the pre-season tournament will be replaced by a series of friendly matches.