CPUT beat Nelson Mandela University 32 – 28 in Port Elizabeth in the biggest comeback of the season which proved to be sweet revenge for an earlier loss against the Madibaz in the Round Robin stage of the tournament.
Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo, reflected on the final match, which he watched on TV. “At some point I thought you were losing the match but in my heart you were already winners just for reaching that stage of the tournament,” Nhlapo said.
Dean of Students, Prem Coopoo, said the EM was extremely proud of the team because what the university saw from them was more than just rugby and talent, but the players had shown excellent time management as they were also doing well academically.
“Like I told you before, we don’t want to just develop rugby players but responsible citizens,” said Coopoo. “What we saw on the field that night will remain indelible in our hearts.”
She remembered how that night the roof almost caved in at the Bellville Campus’ Old Education Hall where the CPUT’s fan zone was held. She thanked all the team’s members, including the technical and physio members.
Team captain Lunathi Nxele thanked the university for their great support.
Coach Ricky Peterson said the road to the final match was not without challenges but the team rose above them. Peterson commended the support and the heroes’ welcome they received from the university.
“There was no ways we were going lose that match. Even though it was David vs Goliath, my boys never lost faith and like in the Bible David slayed Goliath,” joked Peterson. ”It’s not going to stop here, we want more trophies this year.”
He likened the experience in Port Elizabeth to the 1995 Rugby World Cup euphoria and said the team are the university’s ambassadors.