Maties scored a late try to draw 26-26 with Pukke in their second round Varsity Cup clash in Stellenbosch on Monday.
Both sides scored four tries in an electrifying match, but a slow start by Maties saw Pukke race to a 16-0 lead within the opening eight minutes. But the hosts clawed their way back to lead by two points at the break.
Maties were caught napping on defence when Pukke scrumhalf Dillon Smit crossed for a converted score in the second minute to give the visitors the lead. They doubled that lead soon afterwards when the forwards worked their way back deep into Maties territory. Maties flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg was sin binned for collapsing the rolling maul and Pukke received a penalty try.
With a fervent crowd behind them, Maties scored three tries in quick succession, through Kobus van Dyk and Beyers de Villiers (two), to overtake Pukke on the scoreboard just before half-time.
The visitors were first to strike in the second half when Rhyno Smith and Dean Stokes handed them an eight-point lead. But the contest was not without controversy. Maties centre Craig Barry was awarded a try between the two Pukke scores, but a white card challenge by the opposition saw his five-pointer overturned. That would not deter the students from Stellenbosch, as they grabbed a late bonus-point try when Ian Groenewald barged over from close range and Brandon Thomson added the extras to level matters.
With time up on the clock, Pukke sliced through the Maties defence to create what would have been the match-winning try, but Stokes butchered a certain score when he lost the ball over the line.
Earlier, NMMU beat CUT 34-13 in Port Elizabeth, despite receiving five yellow cards in the match. Elsewhere, hosts Tuks scored six tries to beat UCT 39-24. It was the defending champions' first away defeat since 2013. And in Johannesburg, Shimlas scored three tries to blank out UJ 24-0.
In Varsity Shield action, Wits thrashed UKZN 56-13 and UWC edged TUT 21-18.
Maties (26) – Tries: Kobus van Dyk, Beyers de Villiers (2), Ian Groenewald. Conversions: Koos Loubser, Brandon Thomson.
Pukke (26) – Tries: Dillon Smit, Penalty try, Rhyno Smith, Dean Stokes. Conversions: Smith (2).
NMMU (34) – Tries: Daniel Acker (2), Devon Lailvaux (2), Tythan Adams. Conversions: Ruan Allerston (2), Steven Hansel.
CUT (13) – Tries: Ali Mgijima, Mosego Toolo. Conversion: Jesse du Toit.
Tuks (39) – Tries: Jermaine Kleinsmith (2), Dan Kriel, Nqobisiswe Mxoli, Ruan Steenkamp (2). Conversions: Joshua Stander (3).
UCT (24) – Tries: Robin Murray, Guy Alexander, Paul Cohen. Conversions: Warren Seals (3).
Shimlas (24) – Tries: Conraad van Vuuren, Mthokozisi Mkhabela, Tertius Kruger. Conversions: Niel Marais (3).
UKZN (13) – Tries: Chris de Beer, Siphatisene Dube. Conversion: TBC
Wits (56) – Tries: Tommy Darnba (3), Constant Beckerling, Dandre van den Berg, TBC. Conversions: Darnba, Hewitt (2).
TUT (18) – Tries: RW van der Wal, Wessel Jordan. Conversion: TBC
UWC (21) – Tries: Jose Juies, Damien Stevens (2), Conversions: TBC
Photo: Varsity Cup