UP-Tuks are through to the Varsity Cup semi-finals after claiming a bonus-point victory over the University of Johannesburg in the final round of fixtures on Monday.
With the 36-19 win, Tuks finished the round-robin section of the season on 30 points, meaning that they cannot be overtaken by fifth-placed NWU. The Pretoria university is currently in third place, with Maties still to play UWC.
It was hard luck for UJ, who were looking to get into the semi-finals for the first time since 2018 and were never out of the contest until the last 10 minutes of the match.
After a hard-fought first half, Tuks went into the break 15-7 ahead, thanks to tries from centre Zander Reynders and scrumhalf Bernard van der Linde, to go with fullback Stephan Coetzee’s penalty.
UJ kept fighting in the second half and twice gave themselves hope of a comeback: first, when hooker Darnell Osuagwu scored his second try to make it a one-point game and, then, when replacement tighthead prop Nkosikhona Masuku cut the deficit to 10 points in the 60th minute.
However, lock Milhali Stamper sealed the match when a powerful driving maul put him over in the 72nd minute, giving Tuks an unassailable 17-point lead.
UJ – Tries: Darnell Osuagwu (2), Nkosikhona Masuku. Conversions: Jonathan Viljoen (2).
UP-Tuks – Tries: Zander Reynders, Bernard van der Linde, Stephan Smit, Francois Klopper, Mihlali Stamper. Conversions: Stephan Coetzee (3). Penalties: Stephan Coetzee.
UJ – 15 Shaun Baxter, 14 Likhaya Tengimfene, 13 Musa Tshabalala, 12 Indiphile Tyeda, 11 Ilunga Mukendi, 10 Jonathan Viljoen, 9 Mpho Khubeka, 8 Kelvin Kanenungo (c-c), 7 Brendon Pawson, 6 Johannes Terblanche (c-c), 5 Philip Apea-Adu, 4 Babalo Makana, 3 Chergin Fillies, 2 Darnell Osuagwu, 1 Kayden Kiewit.
Subs: 16 Elisha Kwitonga, 17 Andrew Siminyu, 18 Nkosikhona Masuku, 19 Thomas Ongera, 20 Siyemukela Ndlovu, 21 Buhle Qaba, 22 Gerath Louw, 23 Rowan Malgas.
UP-Tuks – 15 Stephan Coetzee, 14 Kabelo Mokoena, 13 Zander Reynders, 12 Lincoln Daniels (c), 11 Tharquinn Manuel, 10 Walter Visser, 9 Bernard van der Linde, 8 Orateng Koikanyang, 7 Divan Venter, 6 Stephan Smit, 5 Roald Hattingh, 4 Mihlali Stamper, 3 Francois Klopper, 2 Allister Williams, 1 Andre van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Werner Fourie, 17 Henry Till, 18 Daniel Wessels, 19 Kabasele Nkombua, 20 Dian Schoonees, 21 Clyde Lewis, 22 Keane Galant, 23 Ambesa Zenzile.
Photo: Christiaan Kotze/[email protected] Photo AGENCY for Varsity/ Asem Engage