Pukke crowned club champs

In what proved to be an enthralling final, Pukke were crowned SAA National Club Champs as they defeated College Rovers 17-12.

Two penalties in the last five minutes by replacement flyhalf Marcel du Toit gave Pukke a nailbiting victory over Rovers at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday.

The Potchefstroom students, playing in their fifth final in seven years, trailed 9-8 at halftime and for much of the second half it seemed as if the KZN champions would hold out in a match played in stifling heat.

But Pukke gradually fought their way back into the match and the appearance of Du Toit with ten minutes remaining signalled a change in their fortunes. No sooner had he run on than he gave Pukke a 14-12 lead and then almost immediately afterwards extended the gap to five points with a second penalty goal.

In a tense final characterised by tight defence on from teams, Pukke scored the only try of the match, through fullback Warren Pietersen in the first half, while Rovers had flyhalf Andrew Borgen to thank for their points by way of four well-struck penalties.

Du Toits second kick in the dying moments sparked a frantic last-ditch effort from Rovers, who were seeking to reverse their 2006 final loss to the same opponents, but the Pukke defence held firm to give the students their third title in five years.

In the curtain-raiser, SK Walmers retained their Plate title as they solidly crushed SWD champions Bridgton, 97-19.