Champions UCT claimed a 40-21 bonus-point victory over 2014 runners-up Pukke in their fifth round Varsity Cup match in Potchefstroom on Monday.
There was nothing much separating the sides after the first half, but the visitors suffocated Pukke in the second to record their third successive victory in the competition.
UCT struck early when outside centre Lihleli Xoli crossed for the opening try, but the hosts hit back through fullback Jeandré Rudolph. Rhyno Smith, however, missed the conversion. Both teams took on an attacking approach and tried to keep ball in hand as much as possible, resulting in an open, enjoyable contest.
Smith worked his way past the UCT defence to score Pukke's second, which he converted, but as they've done throughout the campaign, the Ikey Tigers responded again when first lock Mark Prior barged over before Jason Klaasen scored from the back of an excellent rolling maul. Warren Seals added the extras on both occasions for an 11-point advantage.
With the fervent crowd willing them on, Pukke had one final opportunity to close the gap before the interval and lock Johan Deysel made no mistake as he lunged over for a converted effort, bringing the score to 24-21.
That turned out to be the final celebration for Robert du Preez's men, as UCT changed tactics in the second half, pinning the hosts back in their own territory for sustained periods of time. And on the rare occasions the Cape side had to defend their line, they did so with aplomb. Two further tries by fullback Khanyo Ngcukana and Klaasen followed, with Seals kicking both conversions.
In Stellenbosch, Maties finally registered their first win of the season with a come-from-behind 16-15 victory over UJ. Trailing 10-0 at the break, the hosts scored two converted second-half tries to secure the four log points. Tuks piled more misery on CUT with a 63-8 demolition job in Pretoria, and a late penalty handed Shimlas a dramatic 23-21 away win over NMMU in Port Elizabeth.
In Varsity Shield results, Wits humiliated Fort Hare 93-0 in Johannesburg and TUT's late fightback wasn't enough as they crashed to a 66-41 defeat against UKZN in Pretoria.
Pukke (21) – Tries: Jeandré Rudolph, Rhyno Smith, Johan Deysel. Conversions: Smith (2).
UCT (40) – Tries: Lihleli Xoli, Mark Prior, Jason Klaasen (2), Khanyo Ngcukana. Conversions: Warren Seals (5).
Maties (16) – Tries: Beyers de Villiers, Jacobus van der Merwe. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg, Brandon Thomson.
UJ (15) – Tries: Adriaan Vermeulen, Bradley Moolman. Conversion: Jaco Fourie. Penalty: Fourie.
NMMU (21) – Tries: Jarryd Buys, Tythan Adams, CJ Velleman. Conversions: Steven Hansel (2).
Shimlas (23) – Tries: Refuoe Rampeta, Niel Claasen, Renier Botha. Conversions: Niel Marais (2). Penalty: Marais.
Tuks (63) – Tries: Jannes Kirsten, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Jaco Visagie, John Jackson, Jermaine Kleinsmith, Wiaan Liebenberg, Clyde Davids, Daniel Kriel, Jan Enslin. Conversions: Dewald Human (6).
CUT (8) – Try: Duan Pretorius. Conversion: Pretorius.
TUT (41) – Tries: Armand Marshall, Mandla Mdaka, Ross Middelcote, Niel de Witt, TBC. Conversions: Paul Walters (TBC). Penalty: Walters.
UKZN (66) – Tries: Hendrik Lategan (2), Marius Louw (3), Njabulo Mkize, Matthew Mandioma, Adam Wessels. Conversions: TBC (7).
Wits (93) – Tries: Constant Beckerling, Rhyno Herbst (2), Ferdinand Kelly, Brandan Hewitt, Luxulo Ntsepe (4), Joshua Jarvis (2), Ben Baggot. Conversions: Hewitt (9).
Photo: Catherine Kotze/Varsity Cup/SASPA