The men’s rugby 7s team of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) retained their Golden Lions Rugby Union Club 7’s championship following their 34-12 win against Raider Rugby Club in the final on 17 July 2022. The final match was a repeat of the 2020 final where UJ won against the Raiders to be crowned the 2020 winners.
In the tournament, which took place from 16 to 17 July 2022, UJ had three participating teams, namely; the senior and junior men’s teams and the senior women’s team. All three teams reached the finals.
The men’s senior team played five games, winning all five games against Roodeport twice, Raiders Rugby Club, Inner City and Diggers.
Mpho Kubheka, the UJ men’s senior team captain, won Player of the Tournament alongside Germiston Simmers player, Kalla Lentoor.
The women’s team finished in second place, losing 17-12 to Pirates Ladies in the final. It is the second time the women’s team lose out in the final match. In 2020, they lost to Raiders Ladies. The team played five games, winning four against Soweto, Raiders, Wanderers, Ditau and losing to Pirates Ladies teams in the final due to a late try by the opposition team.
“Well, personally, I feel that the team did achieve 98% of goals, though we did not get what we actually went there for. We performed well. Only one team during the pool stages scored one try against us. So, we tried by all means to keep our defence tight. It is a young and skilful team and there is a lot we can definitely improve.
“The girls showed character, unfortunately one try from the opposition team in the last minute stopped us from the ultimate goal. This is a very young team that has a very bright future ahead of them. They really carried themselves well and we have definitely learnt from our mistakes,” said Bongiwe Nhleko, Head Coach: UJ women’s rugby team.
The junior men’s team redeemed themselves by winning the 31-07 against Wits Junior team to win the Junior Men’s Division, after being knocked out in the group stages in 2020. The team played five games and won all five games against Wits Junior, Germiston Simmers, Harlequins, Wasps and Pirates teams. Kurtley Kiewit was named Junior Player of the Tournament.
“I performed very well. I did what was expected of me, I played for the team rather than focusing on being the one to catch the spotlight. I did not anticipate being selected as Man of the Match, but when I was selected I felt extremely proud. It’s an encouragement for me as a player to keep on working hard,” said Kiewit.
He is a first-year student studying BCom Economics and Econometrics (Extended).