Flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg kicked 10 points as Maties beat UJ 22-14 in Stellenbosch to advance to their second successive Varsity Cup final.
Last week, Maties thrashed UJ 65-19 at the same venue, but in this knockout game they encountered more of a challenge from the visitors.
Divan Nel opened the scoring with a fourth-minute penalty, but Maties looked better with ball in hand and their approach paid off as Kyle Steyn finished off a long-range seven-point try. Stapelberg stepped up to add the conversion for a 9-3 lead. And while Nel hit a drop goal and penalty to level the scores, he missed three penalties that could have put them in control.
In front of goal at the other end, Stapelberg nailed two penalties as Maties went into the break leading 15-9.
Both sides’ discipline improved in the second half, resulting in fewer penalties. Maties’ inspirational captain Craig Barry extended their lead to 22-9 before the strategic break, but the pause in play aided UJ.
Replacement Ronald Brown dotted down for UJ’s first try after inside centre Jaco Fourie split Maties’ defence. However, the conversion went wide and the eight-point difference was too big to overturn late in the game.
Maties – Tries: Kyle Steyn, Craig Barry. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (2). Penalties: Stapelberg (2).
UJ – Try: Ronald Brown. Penalties: Divan Nel (2). Drop goal: Nel.
Maties – 15 Craig Barry (c), 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Barend Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Brendon Nell, 8 Devon Nash, 7 Stephan Streicher, 6 Mitchell Carstens, 5 Johan Momsen, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Jacobus van der Merwe, 2 Craig Corbett, 1 Niel Oelofse.
Subs: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Wikus Groenewald, 19 Ruben de Villiers, 20 Saud Abrahams, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Duncan Saal.
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 Adrian Bester, 4 Kevin du Randt, 3 Nico Du Plessis, 2 Jannes Snyman (c), 1 Dillon Bakos.
Subs: 16 Le Roux Baard, 17 Kyle Kruger, 18 Chergin Fillies, 19 Kyle van Dalen, 20 Reinhardt Nothnagel, 21 Devon Mare, 22 Ronald Brown, 23 Carlisle Jordaan.
Photo: Varsity Cup