Maties got their Varsity Cup campaign off to a solid start with a late try for a narrow victory over UP-Tuks in Pretoria on Monday night.
The five-time champions had the better of possession and territory for much of the match, but let themselves down with some poor handling errors leading to wasted chances.
A deadlocked game became a goal-kicking shootout between the two flyhalves, Adriaan van der Bank and Jandre Burger, who struck two penalties each in the first half.
Van der Bank put Maties in front early in the second half. However, Tuks kept coming and once again Burger levelled matters at 9-9.
Referee Griffin Colby lost patience with Maties giving away penalties at the scrum and yellow-carded loosehead prop Rhynardt Rijnsburger. However, Maties managed to see out that period without conceding a point. The visitors came close to going ahead when Jurie Mathee narrowly missed a long-range penalty.
Eventually, the deadlock was broken in the 73rd minute when a powerful driving maul allowed Sean Swart to score the winning try, with Mathee adding the conversion.
Tuks tried to force a draw with a late try, but it was Maties who added to their tally and denied the home side a losing bonus point when Mathee slotted a penalty after the full-time hooter for a 19-9 win.
In round two, Maties will travel to the Free State to take on Shimlas, while UP-Tuks will have the opportunity to bounce back against Madibaz in Gqeberha.
— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) February 14, 2022
Tuks – Penalties: Jandre Burger (3).
Maties – Try: Sean Swart. Conversion: Jurie Mathee Penalties: Adriaan van der Bank (3), Mathee.
Tuks – 15 Kabelo Mokoena, 14 Stefan Coetzee, 13 Lincoln Daniels (c), 12 Keane Galant, 11 Tharquinn Manuel, 10 Jandre Burger, 9 Clyde Lewis, 8 Eduan Lubbe, 7 Orateng Koikanyang, 6 Divan Venter, 5 Mihlali Stamper, 4 Dawid Meiring, 3 Daniel Wessels, 2 Werner Fourie, 1 Andre van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Allister Williams, 17 Edwin Till, 18 Ethan Burger, 19 Dian Schoonees, 20 Hilton Gie, 21 Ambesa Zenzile, 22 Zandre Kruger, 23 Campwill Willemse.
Maties – 15 Navaldo Fleurs, 14 Marcqiewn Titus, 13 Anton du Toit, 12 Taigh Schoor, 11 Mike Mavovana, 10 Adriaan van der Bank (c), 9 Eduan Smit, 8 Louw Nel, 7 Marco van Rhyn, 6 Gift Dlamini, 5 Matt Gray, 4 Juan Beukes, 3 Matimu Manganyi, 2 Chris Rossouw, 1 Rhynardt Rijnsburger.
Subs: 16 Sean Swart, 17 Wian van Zyl, 18 Vernon Matongo, 19 Jesse Johnson, 20 Siya Matanda, 21 Mckyle Volmoer, 22 Jurie Mathee, 23 Waqar Solaan.
Photo: Catherine Kotze/Varsity Sports