Wrap: Eagles fightback floors Shimlas; CUT, UCT march on

The NWU Eagles overturned a 16-point deficit to beat the Shimlas 32-22 on Thursday, while there were also round-two Varsity Cup wins for CUT, UP-Tuks and UCT.

MADIBAZ 13 (8) CUT IXIAS 51 (28)

CUT Ixias continued their fine start to the 2021 FNB Varsity Cup.

It took just 54 seconds for them to register their opening point-of-origin try at Loftus Versfeld, courtesy of hooker Janus Venter off the back of exceptional interplay.

The Ixias touched down a further three times to secure their bonus point as fullback Cohen Jasper broke through on two occasions to record a brace while Venter bagged his second.

The FNB Madibaz struggled at times to assert themselves but when they could muster several phases of play together, it paid off as hooker Tembekile Boltina scored off a strong lineout drive while flyhalf Tiaan Schutte landed a penalty goal for their first-half haul of eight points.

It was much the same in the second stanza as the men from Bloemfontein logged another two tries through outside centre Niell Stannard. In his first he ran a fantastic support line to cross untouched, while he collected a deft cross-kick despite the attention of several FNB Madibaz defenders to score his brace.

The period just before both strategy breaks were fruitful as NMU, like they did in the first half, scored from a lineout drive via replacement hooker Duan du Plessis.

The juggernaut that is FNB CUT finished the proceedings with a sublime try as wing Ricoman Titus sniffed a gap and bolted 40 metres to score try No 7 for the Ixias.

FNB Player That Rocks: Derik Pretorius (FNB CUT Ixias)

FNB Madibaz – Tries: Tembekile Boltina, Duan du Plessis. Penalty: Tiaan Schutte.
FNB CUT Ixias – Tries: Janus Venter (1×7, 1×5), Ricoman Titus, Cohen Jasper (2), Neill Stannard (2). Conversions: Charles Williams (5), Cohen Jasper.

UJ 19 (12) UP-TUKS 47 (32)

UP-Tuks scored five tries against UJ at the Tuks B-Field to claim a second consecutive bonus-point win.

Two penalty goals from fullback Zander du Plessis gave the hosts an early 6-0 lead, before FNB UJ got on the board through the boot of flyhalf Jonathan Viljoen, who left the field shortly afterwards through injury.

The first try of the game was a point-of-origin seven-pointer finished off by FNB UP-Tuks lock Hanru Sirgel.

Jurich Claasens kicked two penalties for FNB UJ but two more tries for FNB UP-Tuks, by wing Ambesa Zenzile and scrumhalf Clyde Lewis (the latter a seven-pointer) gave them a commanding 32-12 lead at the break.

Replacement flank Eduard Lubbe extended it when he was driven over the line for the hosts’ bonus-point try early in the second half, before fullback Boldwin Hansen scored FNB UJ’s only try.

With five minutes remaining, UP-Tuks were getting nowhere with their driving mauls but a quick switch to their backs created a gap for centre Wian van Niekerk, whose try ensured he won the FNB Player That Rocks award.

Du Plessis kicked the conversion and added a penalty to cap a comfortable win.

FNB Player That Rocks: Wian van Niekerk (FNB UP-Tuks)

FNB UP-Tuks – Tries: Hanru Sirgel (1×7), Ambesa Zenzile, Clyde Lewis (1×7), Eduan Lubbe, Wian van Niekerk. Conversions: Zander du Plessis (3). Penalties: Du Plessis (4).
FNB UJ – Try: Boldwin Hansen. Conversion: Jurich Claasens. Penalties: Jonathan Viljoen, Jurich Claasens (3).

WITS 22 (8) UCT IKEYS 40 (26)

Flyhalf James Tedder produced another Player That Rocks performance as UCT outplayed FNB Wits at Loftus Versfeld.

FNB Wits dazzled in the opening minutes and were rewarded for their prowess as hooker Justin Brandon crossed the chalk for an unconverted try before play was suspended for impending lightning.

The hiatus proved to light the flame under Ikeys’ potjie as they bounced back with two tries to hooker Devon Arendse while Tedder landed four penalties and two conversions to hand FNB UCT a 26-8 lead at the break.

The second half started slowly as both teams failed to bother the scoreboard until Witsies prop Ebot Buma broke the deadlock with a converted try. The Ikeys Tigers then resumed control of the wheel as replacement hooker Josh van Vuuren pulled back a converted try.

For the second time in as many matches, the Brandon brothers penned their names on the scoresheet as replacement hooker Morne followed on from his younger sibling’s efforts in the first half.

FNB Wits’ elation was short-lived, though, as Ikey Tigers lock Connor Evans plucked the ball out of the air at the restart to score a sensational try, claiming the bonus point in the process.

Tedder’s boot was on hand for FNB UCT as he nailed eight shots at goal in total.

FNB Player That Rocks: James Tedder (FNB UCT Ikeys)

FNB Wits – Tries: Justin Brandon, Ebot Buma, Morne Brandon. Conversions: Kurt Webster (2). Penalty: Webster.
FNB UCT Ikeys – Tries: Devon Arendse (2), Josh van Vuuren, Connor Evans. Conversions: James Tedder (4). Penalties: Tedder (4).

SHIMLAS 22 (16) NWU EAGLES 32 (14)

The FNB NWU Eagles fought back from 16-0 down to beat the FNB UFS Shimlas 33-22.

There is no love lost whenever these teams meet in the FNB Varsity Cup and it was no different at Loftus Versfeld as they threw everything and more at each other in the first 10 minutes before FNB UFS Shimlas flyhalf JP Duvenage opened the scoring.

It was all FNB UFS Shimlas for most of the first half as the hookers continued the status quo of round two with William Moffat dotting down for Shimlas while Duvenage added a further eight points from the tee.

The men from Potchefstroom eventually awoke from their slumber in the last 10 minutes of the half, claiming two converted tries courtesy of wing Keano Wingvogel and No 8 Ruben Dreyer to cut the deficit to just two points.

Things slowed down quite dramatically after FNB UFS Shimlas secured another penalty goal three minutes into the second half, yet it was the Eagles who finally took the match by the scruff of the neck as scrumhalf Riaan Genis sniped and dived for the line to score. Flyhalf Keagan Fortune’s conversion handed them the lead for the first time.

The FNB NWU Eagles then found their attacking rhythm courtesy of silky play between forwards and backs before hooker Gustav du Rand smashed his way over from close range to secure the bonus point.

The match drew to an end with both sharpshooters trading multiple blows with the Eagles ultimately taking the victory at Loftus Versfeld.

FNB Player That Rocks: Gustav du Rand (FNB NWU Eagles)

FNB UFS Shimlas – Try: William Moffat. Conversion: JP Duvenage. Penalties: Duvenage (5).
FNB NWU Eagles – Tries: Keano Wingvogel, Ruben Dreyer, Riaan Genis, Gustav du Rand. Conversions: Keagan Fortune (3). Penalties: Fortune (2).

Varsity Cup fixtures and log

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Dylan Jack