Bloemfontein-based CUT grabbed another upset victory to leave UP-Tuks winless after three rounds of the Varsity Cup, while Maties survived a scare in Potchefstroom to get their campaign back on track on Monday.
CUT 41 UP-Tuks 39
The CUT Ixias pulled off another sensational win in the 2023 Varsity Cup with a hard-fought 41-39 victory over defending champions UP-Tuks in Bloemfontein.
The win meant back-to-back victories for the team that can no longer be considered a pushover while for Tuks the alarm bells will be ringing as it was their third straight defeat.
Tuks winger Zander Reynders opened the scoring but the home team struck back two minutes later with a try by Jandré de Beer who was later name the Player that Rocks.
For the rest of the first half, it was a see-saw battle with Ulrich Stander dotting down for CUT and Ethan Burger and Zenzile Ambesa for Tuks, giving the visitors a 23-16 lead at the halftime break.
In the second 40 minutes, the home team managed to outmuscle the defending champions thanks to two tries by Francois Bester and another one by Daniel Venter.
This led to the Ixias taking a slender 41-39 lead, and from there it was a matter of defending like crazy for the final ten minutes, which they successfully managed to do.
CUT 41(16) – Tries: Jandré de Beer, Ulrich Stander, Francois Bester (2), Daniel Venter. Conversations: Tylor Sefoor (5).
UP-TUKS 39 (23) – Tries: Zander Reynders, Ethan Burger, Zenzile Ambesa, Daimon O’Connell. Conversatons: Walter Visser (4).
Player That Rocks: Jandre de Beer (CUT).
NWU Eagles 28 Maties 31
Maties overcame a ten-point deficit at halftime to beat NWU Eagles 31-28 in Potchefstroom to get their 2023 Varsity Cup campaign back on track.
It took the home team just three minutes to open the scoring when Vernon Paulo went over the line after a driving maul.
Two more tries for the Eagles, including a second by Paulo, and three penalties by Maties flyhalf Jurie Mattheetook the scoreboard to 19-9 at halftime for NWU.
Maties came back firing on all cylinders in the second half with a beautiful try from Waqar Solaan.
The home team responded with a try by Arminn Posthumusbut a yellow card for Paulo left them wanting. A late try by Louw Nel sealed an emphatic win for Maties over NWU.
NWU Eagles 28(19) – Tries: Vernon Paulo (2), Zinedine Robinson, Arminn Posthumus. Conversations: Robinson (3).
Maties 31 (9) – Tries: Louw Nel, Waqaar Solaan. Conversions: Jurie Matthee (2). Penalties: Matthee (5).
Player That Rocks: Louw Nel (Maties).
Shimlas 26 Wits 25
UFS Shimlas returned to winning ways in the Varsity Cup, edging Wits 26-25 in a tense and exciting clash at in Bloemfontein. This was Wits’ first loss of the season.
Kwezi Dlamini opened the scoring in the 4th minute, however, it wasn’t too long before Wits struck with a try courtesy of hooker Dameon Venter.
Despite another try for the home team by Nkoka Ngobe, it was the visitors who were leading 20-14 at halftime courtesy of a long-range try by flyhalf Christian Humphries. He also landed two penalties.
Dlamini completed his brace early in the second half and another try by Pierre Uys gave the Shimlas a reasonably comfortable lead.
Wits replacement Gerswin Mouton went over for a try with two minutes left on the clock but a missed conversion by Humphries denied the team from Johannesburg a third straight victory.
UFS Shimlas 26 (14)– Tries: Kwezi Dlamini (2), NkokaNgobe, Pierre Uys. Conversions: Ethan Wentzel (3).
Wits 25 (20) – Tries: Dameon Venter, Christian Humphries, Gerswin Mouton. Conversations: Humphries (1). Penalties: Humphries (2).
Player That Rocks: Kwezi Dlamini Kwezi (UFS).
Photo: Asem Engage – Hannes Naude