Round seven of the Varsity Cup featured plenty of thrilling action, including wins for UP-Tuks, NWU Eagles, UWC, Shimlas and UCT in the tournament’s 500th match on Monday.
In the first match of the day, UWC scored a 44-38 bonus-point win in Cape Town but allowed the CUT Ixias to claim two valuable log points from the fixture.
UWC came into this match needing a victory to avoid certain relegation to the Varsity Shield. From the outset, they adopted a more pragmatic approach, relying on their powerful pack and the accurate kicking of captain Lyle Hendricks to create pressure and opportunities. The Ixias battled to cope at the set pieces and collisions. Lock Ulrich Stander was shown a yellow card in the 30th minute after his team committed one transgression too many. Prop Haniel du Toit then crashed over for his second try – and UWC’s fourth. At that stage, the hosts looked to be on course for a comfortable win.
The Ixias punished UWC’s poor management thereafter and proceeded to score two tries before the break. At half time, UWC held a 28-14 lead. The visitors continued to fight back in the second stanza. When lock Matthew Sekele powered over for his second try, the Ixias were suddenly in a position to claim valuable log points. Somewhat inevitably, CUT dotted down for a bonus-point try in the 57th minute. Floris Brand slotted a late penalty to ensure that the visitors picked up a second bonus point for losing by seven points or less.
With this result, UWC have boosted their tally to 31 points on the combined 2021-22 log. While they trail CUT Ixias by five log points in the combined standings, they are still alive with two rounds to play.
In Pretoria, defending champions UP-Tuks had to work hard for their 39-24 bonus-point win over a plucky Wits team that scored three tries. Two late penalties by fullback Clyde Lewis, who scored a point-of-origin try in the first half, eventually put the result beyond doubt.
In Potchefstroom, the NWU Eagles ran in eight tries to hammer the already relegated Madibaz 61-26 and keep their slim semi-final hopes alive. Two of them were scored by flank Chris Vermaak but it was right wing Pienaar van Niekerk who earned the FNB Player That Rocks award. To their credit, the FNB Madibaz did score four tries to earn a bonus point.
In Johannesburg, the UFS Shimlas finished strongly to record a 37-26 bonus-point victory over UJ. The Orange Army led 23-16 at half time and 26-23 on the hour mark, but ran out of steam in the final quarter as replacement Kwezi Dlamini and centre Jooste Nel both crossed the line for the visitors.
Varsity Cup Round 7 results and scorers:
UWC 44 (28) – Tries: Aydon Topley, Haniel du Toit (2), Romuald Ntumba (1×7), Mauritz Swart (1×7), Nicholas Chipanje. Conversions: Lyle Hendricks (5).
CUT Ixias 38 (5) – Tries: Matthew Sekele (1×7, 1×5). Jacquin van Wyk (1×7), Septimus Derkesen, Albertus Venter. Conversions: Floris Brand (3). Penalty: Brand.
Player That Rocks: Nicholas Chipanje (UWC)
UCT Ikeys 44 (10) – Tries: Rihaz Fredericks (1×7), Imad Khan (1×7), Mika Schubert, Suleiman Hartzenberg (2×7). Conversions: Duran Koevort (4). Penalty: Koevort.
Maties 27 (17) – Tries: Adriaan van der Bank (1×7), Vernon Matongo, Simon Miller. Conversions: Nevaldo Fleurs (2). Penalties: Fleurs (2).
Player That Rocks: Suleiman Hartzenberg (UCT Ikeys)
UP-Tuks 39 (21) – Tries: Bernard van der Linde (1×7), Clyde Lewis (1×7), Kabelo Mokoena, Orateng Koikanyang. Conversions: Walter Visser (3). Penalties: Visser, Lewis (2).
Wits 24 (17) – Tries: Dameon Venter, Setshaba Mokoena, Wian de Lange. Conversions: Chris Humphries (2), Keagan Lailvaux. Penalty: Humphries.
Player That Rocks: Clyde Lewis (UP-Tuks)
NWU Eagles 61 (33) – Tries: Vernon Paulo, Pienaar van Niekerk (1×7), Gustav Erlank (1×7), Theunis Pretorius, Chris Vermaak (2), Andre Fouche, Tino Swanepoel (1×7). Conversions: Martin Venter (5), Nivan Petersen. Penalty: Venter.Madibaz 26 (12) – Tries: Kyle Cyster (1×7), Kholiwe Khonza, Jade Stoffels (1×7), Wayne Moss. Conversion: Stoffels. Player That Rocks: Pienaar van Niekerk (NWU Eagles)
UJ 26 (23) – Tries: Mpho Kubheka, Darnell Osuagwu, Musawenkosi Tshabalala (1×7). Conversions: Jonathan Viljoen (3). Penalty: Viljoen.
UFS Shimlas 37 (16) – Tries: Zane Bester (2×7), Blaine Golden, Kwezi Dlamini, Jooste Nel. Conversions: Litha Nkula (4).
Player That Rocks: George Lourens (UFS Shimlas)
Photo: Catherine Kotze/Varsity/ASEM Engage