In a showcase of rugby talent at the high intensity ten-a-side George Tens Sport and Lifestyle Festival held at Outeniqua Park, Uitenhage Tens Team in its tournament debut was crowned the champion in the semi-professional division.
“It was very tough, but a huge privilege to be part of the Uitenhage Tens Team which pulled off a spectacular performance at the tournament and walked away with the trophy,” said Lance van Aardt, Uitenhage Tens Team manager and owner of Cars on Caledon in Kariega.
What makes Uitenhage Tens Team special is that in a first-ever, Kariega’s club rugby rivals joined their talents, which resultantly caused uproar at the Tens rugby series which took place from 15 to 18 December in George.
Uitenhage Tens Team consisted of five forwards and five back players from the 2022 Grand Challenge club rugby champions, Progress Rugby Club, and stalwarts Gardens Rugby Club. The team coach is the experienced Leon Nicolaai.
On the Friday of the George Tens, Uitenhage Tens Team played and won against Stallions from Alexandria. Owing to inclement weather there were no games on the Saturday, with the remaining games to be played on the Sunday.
“The guys were mentally strong. They played six games including the semi-finals and finals which they won 14-5 against Score Legends from Strand,” said Van Aardt.
The vision to promote Kariega’s rugby talent at the ten-a-side running rugby, played in two ten-minute halves, was that of Van Aardt and sports compatriots Leolyn du Plessis, Marcel Jonkers, Blake Cornelius, Dwain Japhta and Fahmy Abrahams.
“I would like to thank the players, their spouses/girlfriends and children that gave them the time off to prepare and compete for the Tens tournament after a hectic rugby league. Thanks to all the managers and coaches for all their efforts and work done before the tournament and on the weekend of the tournament. Last but not least, thanks to Fahmy Abrahams of Club Rugby in the Eastern Cape for capturing all the action,” said Van Aardt.
Uitenhage Tens Team also thanks its sponsors for their support which contributed to their success: Ralph Meintjies (BSM/mouth guards); Darren Petersen and Mario Simmers (B&M Automotive); Kurt Muller (Star Cabs and Auto Care); and Faseeg Savahal (FFT Suspension Centre).
The George Tens Sport and Lifestyle Festival enjoyed international coverage and former Springbok Rugby coach, Heinecke Meyer is the director of the George Tens rugby tournament. Uitenhage Tens Team this year wants to start U/13 and Legends O/35 teams also to participate in the George Tens during December 2023.