UP-Tuks claimed a hard-fought win over UWC, while there were also round-five Varsity Cup victories for Maties, Wits and UJ.
UWC 25 (10) – UP-TUKS 31 (26)
UP-Tuks returned to winning ways as their five tries were enough to hold off a resilient UWC.
The Stripe Generation fielded a vastly different team as player rotation came into play after four brutal rounds, with Zander du Plessis starting at flyhalf instead of his usual position of fullback.
UP-Tuks were in control for the majority of the match, with their set moves off set plays providing countless opportunities on attack while their defence repeatedly frustrated Udubs.
However, two yellow cards to UP-Tuks at the death allowed UWC to creep back into the match.
It didn’t take the three-time champions long to breach Udubs’ line as scrumhalf Johan Mulder darted over before prop Andre van der Merwe, outside centre and captain Louritz van der Schyff scored. Du Plessis then secured the bonus-point try in the 31st minute.
Udubs scored their first points in the 25th minute via the boot of flyhalf Ethan Diston before inside centre Jason Cloete ran a deft line to leave UP-Tuks’ defence dumbfounded to touch down, with the conversion reducing the deficit to 16 points at half time.
The third quarter was certainly not as flashy as the first 40, with Diston slotting a penalty before UP-Tuks replacement hooker Llwellyn Claasen profited off the back of a strong lineout drive.
The Stripe Generation’s discipline took a dive in the final 10 minutes as they were reduced to 13 men within a minute, with replacement loose forward Divan Venter (repeated team infringements) and Van der Schyff (taking out a player in the air) yellow-carded. That ensured that the men from Pretoria had to shift to defence mode to protect their lead.
Ultimately, UP-Tuks’ defence failed, although it should be credited for holding out as long as it did as Udubs exploited their two-man advantage with hooker Jason Alexander the man to score.
It would be UWC who scored the final points of the match with a minute remaining as No 8 Godfrey Muzanargwo’s try was converted by Diston.
Udubs had a chance to attack from deep after the full-time hooter, but a questionable grubber kick was collected by UP-Tuks, who ended the contest.
Player That Rocks: Johan Mulder (UP-Tuks)
UWC – Tries: Jason Cloete, Jason Alexander, Godfrey Muzanargwo. Conversions: Ethan Diston (2). Penalties: Diston (2).
UP-Tuks – Tries: Johan Mulder, Andre van der Merwe, Louritz van der Schyff, Zander du Plessis, Llwellyn Classen. Conversions: Du Plessis (3).
UJ 34 (24) – UFS SHIMLAS 32 (0)
UJ survived a second-half comeback by UFS Shimlas to claim a second consecutive win in this year’s tournament.
UJ were aggressive in attack from the onset, often fronting up in collision after collision, which appeared to leave Shimlas shell-shocked. However, UFS took stock at half time and reloaded to force themselves back into the match.
The Orange Army took control when inside centre Musawenkosi Tshabalala scored the opening try in the 12th minute before wing Prince Nkabinde rounded off phase play to dot down in the left-hand corner.
UJ hooker Pierre Rabie had his forwards to thank as his brace via rolling mauls in the final minutes of the first half secured the bonus point, with flyhalf Jurich Claasens adding two conversions to bring up a commanding 24-0 lead at the break.
The second half proved to be a different story as UFS eventually found their rhythm and scored three excellent tries, courtesy of No 8 Ruwald van der Merwe and a point-of-origin try each for hooker William Moffat and wing Jorell Arries. That allowed them to get within two points of the Orange Army just before the second strategy break.
Claasens pulled back a try for UJ and added the conversion before replacement loose forward Thabo Ndaminde’s converted try in the 70th minute made it a two-point game once again while handing his charges the bonus point for tries scored.
UFS pushed hard for another score, but lost a late lineout which allowed UJ to wind down the clock.
Player That Rocks: Pierre Rabie (UJ)
UJ – Tries: Musawenkosi Tshabalala, Prince Nkabinde, Pierre Rabie (2), Jurich Claasens. Conversions: Claasens (3). Penalty: Claasens.
UFS Shimlas – Tries: Ruwald van der Merwe, William Moffat (1×7), Jorell Arries (1×7), Thabo Ndaminde. Conversions: JP Duvenage (4).
WITS 77 (42) – MADIBAZ 7 (7)
Wits’ dominant scrum laid the platform for their biggest-ever Varsity Cup win and their first of the 2021 campaign.
Wits were awarded three penalty tries in the match – including two in the first quarter – from the set piece.
Before the game, the teams shared a touching moment when they stood together in memory of former Madibaz manager Ntsikelelo ‘Amigo’ Ngcakana, who passed away last year.
Wits drew first blood through centre Henco van Wyk, before Madibaz flank Jaco van der Walt was yellow-carded. The Wits pack took full advantage, with two penalty tries making it 21-0 after 15 minutes.
Captain Constant Beckerling scored Wits’ bonus-point try, which was followed by centre Aidynn Cupido’s brilliant chip-and-chase point-of-origin try.
Madibaz wing Njabulo Toni crossed the line on the stroke of half time, but fullback Chadwyn November’s conversion would be the last points they scored.
Wits came out firing in the second half, with replacement flank Mark Snyman scoring two superb tries in quick succession.
Wits’ third penalty try, with five minutes remaining, was followed by two point-of-origin tries from replacement flyhalf Christian Humphries and scrumhalf Hlumelo Ndudula that compounded the Madibaz’s misery.
Player That Rocks: Damian Venter (Wits).
Wits – Tries: Henco van Wyk, penalty try (3), Travis Gordon, Constant Beckerling, Aidynn Cupido (1×7), Mark Snyman (2), Christian Humphries (1×7), Hlumelo Ndudula (1×7). Conversions: Kurt Webster (5).
Madibaz – Tries: Njabulo Toni. Conversion: Chadwyn November.
MATIES 26 (5) – NWU EAGLES 12 (6)
Defending Varsity Cup champions Maties slugged it out against NWU in a scrappy affair, running in four tries.
Proceedings were largely stop-start as unforced errors ruled the day while indecisiveness spoilt many opportunities for both teams.
The Eagles opened the scoring in the 12th minute via the boot of flyhalf Keagan Fortune before the Maroon Machine’s lock pairing linked up brilliantly to allow Albert Liebenberg to canter over the chalk.
The first-half contest, although brutal, did not offer much in terms of points and Maties flyhalf Christopher Schreuder missed several attempts at goal. Collectively, the men from Stellenbosch failed to profit when the Eagles were reduced to 14 men with scrumhalf Riaan Genis spending 10 minutes in the naughty chair.
Fortune slotted a second penalty just after the first strategy break to hand the men from Potch a one-point lead that they protected until half time.
It didn’t take long for Maties to retaliate when the match resumed as outside centre and captain David Brits was on hand to receive a pop pass from wing Munier Hartzenberg and touch down for a point-of-origin try.
The Eagles were dealt a blow during the act of Brits’ try as wing Pienaar van Niekerk was handed a red card for taking Hartzenberg out in the air and spent 15 minutes with a one-man disadvantage.
The Maroon Machine continued pushing hard and received their just rewards a minute before the second strategy break as replacement utility back George Lourens sneakily scored a converted try off a lineout drive.
No 8 Ben-Jason Dixon then ran fast and hard at the defence to force himself over the line to score a scintillating point-of-origin try.
Player That Rocks: Ben-Jason Dixon (Maties).
Maties – Tries: Albert Liebenberg, David Brits, George Lourens, Ben-Jason Dixon. Conversion: Christopher Schreuder.
NWU Eagles – Penalties: Keagan Fortune (4).
Photo: Varsity Sports