Puk vow to retain trophy

Meshack Khotha

Meshack Khotha

Defending champions Puk Rugby Institute have vowed to retain the prestigious Canterbury Pirates Grand Challenge trophy when they meet the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in the final on Saturday.

The game, that has been awaited eagerly, will be a curtainraiser to the Absa Currie Cup clash between the Lions and the Cheetahs at Ellis Park Stadium at 3pm.

Mervyn Taylor, Puk's manager, said he was optimistic that his boys would win the match against the Gauteng university.

"Both coaches, Matt Proudfoot and Eben Verster, have done a good job at the training. They worked on the players' mistakes and everybody cooperated.

"This will probably be a tough final because our opponents have been consistent in the tournament. But my charges are in a good frame of mind and raring to lift the trophy for the fifth time in a row," said Taylor.

UJ coach Hugo van As said: "We hope luck will be on our side this time round to bring Puk's dominance to a halt."

Puk have beaten UJ four times in succession since 2003 in the same competition.

Van As said locks Gareth Hemingway and Rudi Mattheeu, hooker Neil Visagie and flyhalf Ryno Luus were likely to be in the starting line-up.

Puk will bank on Willem van der Wal, Thabo Molefe and Devan Eckard.