The FNB Maties have secured their spot in yet another FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International final after narrowly defeating FNB UJ 22-14 at Danie Craven Stadium on Monday evening. Tuks secured the right to host the final by beating Shimlas 28-21 in Pretoria.
Maties 22, UJ 14
After beating FNB UJ comfortably last week, FNB Maties were made to work much harder when the two sides met again on Monday afternoon at Danie Craven Stadium. FNB Maties narrowly got the better of a spirited FNB UJ, 22-14.
FNB UJ put FNB Maties under immense pressure in the first half, with their forwards asserting control over the FNB Maties forwards. Dominant and powerful scrums meant FNB UJ had the upper hand but unnecessary mistakes let the Joburg outfit down.
The FNB Maties backs looked more dangerous with ball in hand with outside centre, Michal Haznar in particularly running strong lines as FNB Maties had the majority of possession in the first half. Winger, Kyle Steyn, picked up where he left off last week by scoring the first and only try before the break, after Haznar broke through from his own half before offloading to Steyn, resulting in a seven-point try for the men from Stellenbosch.
FNB UJ remained in the contest, however, with their forwards. Numerous scrum penalties resulted in them getting points on the board through flyhalf, Divan Nel, who also slotted a drop goal. Ill-discipline towards the latter stages of the first half by FNB UJ led to FNB Maties adding to their total.
The second half started well for the home side when Craig Barry sniped through the FNB UJ defence to score his ninth try of the season – the most by any FNB Maties player in a single season. FNB UJ, however, hit back through a try by replacement fullback, Ronald Brown, in the 63rd minute to make the game anybody’s to take. Some tight defence by FNB UJ in the final 10 minutes of the match meant they were still in with a chance and it took some last-gasp defending by the Maroon Machine to eventually win a penalty on their own tryline in the 80th minute.
FNB UJ added to the tension when they played their white card after that penalty decision for FNB Maties but it was unsuccessful as replacement flyhalf, Chris Smith, booted the ball into the stands to send FNB Maties to their sixth Varsity Cup final.
FNB Player that Rocks: Michal Haznar (FNB Maties)
FNB Maties 22. Tries: Kyle Steyn (seven-point), Craig Barry (five-point). Conversion: Ernst Stapelberg. Penalties: Ernst Stapelberg (3)
FNB UJ 14. Tries: Ronald Brown (five-point). Penalties: Divan Nel (2). Drop Goals: Divan Nel
FNB Maties: 15 Craig Barry ©, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Brendon Nell, 8 Devon Nash, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Mitchell Carstens, 5 Johan Momsen, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 JE van der Merwe, 2 Craig Corbett, Niel Oelofse. Replacements: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Jake Blew, 19 Ruben de Villiers, 20 Saud Abrahams, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Duncan Saal
FNB UJ: 15 Ewan Adams, 14 Peter John Walters, 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 12 Jaco Fourie, 11 Godfrey Ramaboea, 10 Divan Nel, 9 Johan Esterhuizen, 8 Jo-Hanko de Villiers, 7 Leon Massyn, 6 Wian Conradie, 5 Adriaan Bester, 4 Kevin du Randt, 3 Nico du Plessis, 2 Jannes Snyman ©, 1 Dillon Bakos. Replacements: 16 Le Roux Barnard, 17 Kyle Kruger, 18 Chergin Fillies, 19 Kyle van Dalen, 20 Reinhardt Nothnagel, 21 Devon Mare, 22 Ronald Brown, 23 Carlisle Jordaan
Tuks 28, Shimlas 21
FNB UP-Tuks survived a second half resurgence by FNB UFS-Shimlas to win their FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International semi-final 28-21 (halftime 23-9) at the Tuks Rugby Stadium on Monday, 3 April.
Qualify for the Varsity Cup semi-finals and the supporters will come, which is exactly what happened in Pretoria as the students turned out in numbers to back their boytjies against the University of the Free State on a perfect autumn evening in Pretoria.
It was the visitors who upped the ante in the opening minutes as they attacked in waves causing FNB UP-Tuks to scramble in defence. A cheeky quick tap by scrumhalf Dian Badenhorst almost resulted in a try to FNB UFS-Shimlas but the TMO adjudged the ball to have been lost forward. This spurred the home team to get their act together which culminated in flyhalf Tinus de Beer exploiting a gap to put wing Sibahle Maxwane into space to score the opening try in the 12th minute.
Both teams lulled into passages of attack on either side of the first strategy break with neither team able to crack the defensive line. Maxwane was the man to change the status quo in the 26th minute when he jinxed his way past several defenders to score his second try of the night and FNB UP-Tuks' first seven-point try.
A fantastic kick-and-chase by fullback Divan Rossouw several minutes later put the men from Pretoria in the right space to exploit FNB UFS-Shimlas' defensive weaknesses which saw scrumhalf and captain Andre Warner score the home team's third try of the evening.
An intercept by fullback Marco Mason on the visitor's five-metre line allowed the abrasive runner to gallop up field and set the tone for flanker Phumzile Maqondwana to open the FNB UFS-Shimlas account with minutes left in the first half. Mason converted to cut the half time deficit to 23-9.
The halftime chat must have be gruelling for the visitors as they came out of the change room a different team as they put FNB UP-Tuks under the cosh. Several penalties against the Pretoria students allowed FNB UFS-Shimlas to set up a line-out drive which saw replacement hooker Hanno Snyman cross the line.
FNB UP-Tuks were forced to contain the visitor's onslaught with 14 men after flank Marco van Staden was yellow carded in the 52nd minute for repeated team transgressions. This set the platform for FNB UFS-Shimlas to score their third try through lock Neil Claassen. Mason could not level the scores as his conversion went wide.
Much like in the first half, both teams struggled to break through the defensive line on either side of the strategy break but this did not stop the two universities from running flat out at each other. The deadlock was finally broken when hooker Corniel Els broke off the back of a dominant FNB UP-Tuks driving maul to score in the 72nd minute. De Beer could not extend the lead.
FNB UFS-Shimlas continued to press hard on attack in the dying minutes of the match, with the visitors making regular inroads into the opposition's territory but in the end it was not to be as FNB UP-Tuks held on to win 28-21 and thus secure a home final against FNB Maties.
FNB Player that Rocks: Tinus de Beer (FNB UP-Tuks)
FNB UP-Tuks 28. Tries: Sibahle Maxwane (five-point, seven-point), Andre Warner, Corniel Els. Cons: Tinus de Beer (3). Yellow cards: Marco van Staden
FNB UFS-Shimlas 21. Tries: Phumzile Maqondwana (seven-point), Hanno Snyman, Neil Claassen. Cons: Marco Mason (2).
FNB UP-Tuks: 15. Divan Rossouw, 14.Dewald Naude, 13. Toko Maebane, 12. Impi Visser, 11. Sibahle Maxwane, 10. Tinus De Beer, 9. Andre Warner (c), 8. Clyde Davids, 7. Eduan Lubbe, 6. Marco van Staden, 5. Aston Fortuin, 4. Brian Leitch, 3. Neethling Fouche, 2. Els Corniel, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel. Replacements: 16. Jan-Henning Campher, 17. Jaco Holtzhausen, 18. Marius Verwey, 19. Jsuan-Re Swanepoel, 20. Theo Maree, 21. Manie Libbok, 22. Joshua Stander, 23. Franco van den Berg.
FNB UFS-Shimlas: 15. Marco Mason, 14. Vuyani Maqina, 13. Lihleli Xoli, 12. Stephan Janse van Rensburg (c), 11. Carel Wynand Coetzee, 10. Nicholas Naude, 9. Dian Badenhorst, 8. Wilandre Kotzenberg, 7. Phumzile Maqondwana, 6. Daniel Maartens, 5. Neil Claassen, 4. Nicolaas Immelman, 3. Ruan Kramer, 2. Anrich Alberts, 1. Kwenzokuhle Blose.Replacements: 16. Hanno Snyman, 17. Johan Kotze, 18. Thabiso Msiza, 19. Raymond Woest, 20. Nardus Erasmus, 21. Armand Pretorius, 22. Rayhaan Lombaard, 23. Sechaba Matsoele