NWU started their Varsity Cup title challenge with a 23-8 victory over UJ, while there were also wins for Maties, Tuks and UCT on Monday.
NWU withstood UJ and the rain in Johannesburg as they emerged victorious in the 2019 season opener, which was later called off in the second half due to lightning.
The visitors scored an early try through captain Louis van der Westhuizen. UJ scrumhalf Jack Hart was then shown a yellow card and NWU wing Pienaar van Niekerk dotted down to make it 14-0.
A penalty from Jeanluc Cilliers got UJ on the board early in the second half, before the mercurial Cyprian Nkomo scored a try.
But NWU wing Lungelo Gosa’s try, against the run of play, gave NWU a 23-8 lead with 20 minutes to go.
With 13 minutes remaining, the match officials evaluated the weather and decided to end the game.
Later in the day, defending champions Maties beat Wits 33-17 at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.
The home side was boosted by the performance of their forwards, with hooker HJ Luus scoring a brace of tries to go with scrumhalf Logan Boonzaier’s seven-pointer. Flyhalf Jordan Chait slotted two conversions and four penalties.
Despite the scoreline, Wits gave a good account of themselves and will be pleased to have gone toe-to-toe with Maties, only falling out of the contest in the second half.
Meanwhile, Tuks started their rebuilding job under new head coach Nollis Marais by grinding out a 23-6 win against CUT in Pretoria.
Flank Stephen Smit, wing Ciaran Dayaram (seven-point try) and inside centre Wian van Niekerk touched down for Tuks, while penalties from flyhalf Marc Morrison and centre Heinrich Bitzi were all that CUT could take from a game played at times at a lethargic pace.
In the day’s other result, Varsity Cup newcomers UWC gave a good account of themselves before losing 32-24 to UCT, who scored a seven-point try to win the match.
Varsity Cup results (Round 1):
UJ (8) – Try: Cyprian Nkomo. Penalty: Jeanluc Cilliers
NWU (23) – Tries: Louis van der Westhuizen, Pienaar van Niekerk, Lungelo Gosa. Conversions: Schalk Hugo (3).
Maties (33) – Tries:HJ Luus (2), Logan Boonzaaier. Conversions:Jordan Chait (2). Penalties: Chait (4)
Wits (17) – Tries: Krappies van den Berg, CJ Conradie (2). Conversations: Christian Humphries.
Tuks (23) – Tries: Stephan Smit, Ciaran Dayaram, Wian van Niekerk. Penalties: Tinus de Beer (2).
CUT (6) – Penalties: Marc Morrison, Heinrich Bitzi.
UCT (32) – Tries: Reitumetse Mogoje, Stef de Gouveia, Cuan Hablutzel, Simon Raw. Conversions: Darian Hock (4).
UWC (24) – Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Tristan Leyds, Andre Manuel. Conversion: Lyle Hendricks (3). Penalty: Hendricks.
Photo: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA