UCT continued their unbeaten start to the season as they held out for a 31-28 win over a brave UWC in Cape Town on Monday. DYLAN JACK reports.
In an intense derby between the two Cape-based universities, it was the Ikey Tigers who tasted victory, but they certainly had to work hard for it.
Despite going 31-12 down early in the second, UWC produced a thrilling comeback in front of their home crowd courtesy of two brilliant plays from Lundi Msenge. The wing showcased his outstanding speed to score two point-of-origin tries and bring his team back into the contest.
Unbelievable scenes in Bellville as Lungi Msenge dumps the clutch from deep in his own half straight down the middle to score under the poles and @UWCSport are right back in it!#RugbyThatRocks pic.twitter.com/E3cdBnMru4
— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) February 17, 2020
As a bigger demonstration of their heart, the hosts had to defend their own tryline for most of the final 10 minutes, denying UCT three tries in that period. Following the full-time hooter, they went on the offensive themselves and it was only a last-ditch tackle from replacement scrumhalf Liam Kloosman which denied UWC a potential winning try.
It didn’t always look like UWC would be capable of this. At one stage in the match, it looked as if UCT would stride away as victors.
After a slugglish start, during which the home side took an early lead through a nine-point try from Gilroy Philander, UCT worked their way back into the match and dominated large parts of the first half.
It won’t get any easier in the next round for UCT, as they travel to Bloemfontein to take on CUT, who are well capable of causing an upset.
UWC, meanwhile, will host another Cape rival in defending champions Maties, who have blitzed both of their opponents in their first two fixtures of the season.
UWC – Tries: Gilroy Philander, Lundi Msenge (2). Conversions: Keagan Fortune (2). Penalty: Fortune.
UCT – Tries: Rayno Mapoe, David Meihuizen, James MacDonald, Cuan Hablutzel, Michael Brink. Conversions: James Tedder (2).
UWC – 15 Gilroy Philander, 14 Peter Williams, 13 Schalk Carstens, 12 Lyle Hendricks, 11 Lundi Msenge, 10 Keagan Fortune, 9 Clayton Daniels, 8 Adrian Paarwater, 7 Godfrey Muzanargwo, 6 Tinotenda Mavesere, 5 Curtly Thomas, 4 Pieter-Steyl Swanepoel, 3 Dandre Degenaar, 2 Jacques van Zyl (c), 1 Luvo Basi.
Subs: 16 Jason Alexander, 17 Justin Theys, 18 Matthew le Roux, 19 Reece Bocks, 20 Branden de Kock, 21 Darren Jaftha, 22 Tiaan-Thomas Henecke, 23 Keon Links.
UCT – 15 James Tedder, 14 Sebastian Roodt, 13 Liam Furniss, 12 Michael Brink, 11 Rayno Mapoe, 10 James MacDonald, 9 Kyle Bowman, 8 Busanda Mabena, 7 Niel Otto (c), 6 Nama Xaba, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Byron Bowes, 3 Ashwyn Adams, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 1 Gugu Nelani.
Subs: 16 Josh van Vuuren, 17 Devon Arendse, 18 Luthando Woji, 19 Byron Cranswick, 20 Christian Stehlik, 21 Liam Kloosman, 22 Damian Rawstorne, 23 Siba Mzanywa.