Tuks claimed a 38-30 bonus-point win over UCT in Pretoria in round three of the Varsity Cup, while UFS Shimlas fought back from a 10-0 deficit to beat the CUT Ixias 48-27 and consolidate their position at the top of the log.
Tuks beat the Ikey Tigers 34-27 when these sides last met in the 2021 Varsity Cup final. On Monday, they managed to overcome the wet and windy conditions to claim yet another win over their old foes.
The visitors scored three tries from the set piece in the first half. The hosts showed greater ambition from deep and may have scored more points during this period if not for a series of handling errors.
Both teams lost players to yellow cards as half time approached. Tuks flank Orateng Koikanyang was suspended for cynical play on his own tryline, while UCT fullback Duran Koevort was sent to the bin for an illegal tackle.
The hosts thrived in the 14-on-14 contest. UCT did well to keep them relatively honest in this period and the half ended with the scores level at 21-21.
Playing with a strong wind at their backs in the second half, Tuks proceeded to take control. The hosts navigated their way deep into opposition territory and then employed a driving maul of their own. Flank Dian Schoonees crashed over for his second try of the evening.
Just as the game was slipping away from the visitors, Koevort chased down a David Hayes kick and scored under the uprights.
The point-of-origin try, as well as the successful conversion by Koervort, allowed the Ikeys to claw their way back to within a point of their opponents. The latter kick took Koevort’s personal tally for the evening to 21 points.
As the rain hammered down, both teams struggled to control the ball. Tuks won a crucial maul penalty, however, and ensured that they spent the final stages on the UCT tryline.
After a sustained period of attack, scrumhalf Bernard van der Linde breached the defence. Stefan Coetzee’s ensuing conversion stretched Tuks’ lead to eight points, and ultimately denied the visitors a losing bonus point.
In the Bloemfontein derby, Andre Tredoux’s Shimlas have scored 154 points over the course of three games. Ultimately, they have racked up a maximum of 15 log points, and are full value for their position at the top of the standings.
That said, they were made to work for the result against a spirited CUT side in a fierce Bloemfontein derby. Braam van Straaten’s side applied the pressure during the early stages and powered their way into a 10-0 lead after 16 minutes.
Shimlas endeavoured to play the game at a high tempo, though. They continued to run at the hosts’ defence, and continued to win penalties.
Instead of kicking for goal, they tapped quickly and attempted to catch CUT unawares. After spurning several chances, they breached the line via captain Thabang Mahlasi. That score proved the catalyst for the visitors. Shimlas began to hold their passes and added two more tries before the break.
CUT conceded 11 penalties in the first half alone and failed to address their discipline issues in the second stanza.
Another series of infringements culminated in a whopping three yellow cards for the hosts between the 48th and 55th minute. Jan Kotze, Sisipho Nofuya and Kevin Strydom ended up sitting alongside one another in the sin bin.
Shimlas proceeded to put the 12-man CUT team to the sword. They scored 17 points while the hosts were short-staffed.
Reserve hooker Wihan Marais was shown a red card for a dangerous cleanout in the 68th minute, while scrumhalf Jandre Nel received a yellow for a deliberate knockdown soon after. By then, however, Shimlas had the result and the bonus point in the bag.
In Cape Town, UWC claimed their first win of the season with a convincing 60-26 victory over the Madibaz, who suffered a third straight defeat.
Peter Williams set the tone for the hosts when a multi-phase attack finished with the wing diving under the posts for a point-of-origin try. UWC scored another three tries to lead 30-7 and while the Madibaz crossed for their second try on the stroke of half time, it was one-way traffic in the second half as the hosts scored another four tries.
In Johannesburg, UJ came back from 14-0 down to beat the NWU Eagles 33-14 in a match that was delayed for 25 minutes because of heavy rain and a water-logged field.
The Eagles scored two first-half tries, including a penalty try, only to concede a penalty try themselves on the stroke of half time that allowed the Orange Army to get back into the game. UJ then dominated the second half, scoring three tries.
Maties scored five tries in their 37-10 win over Wits at the Danie Craven Stadium. The hosts led 18-5 at half time.
Varsity Cup Round 4 fixtures (7 March):
Madibaz vs CUT Ixias
NWU Eagles vs Tuks
Maties vs UJ
Wits vs UFS Shimlas
UCT Ikeys vs UWC