CUT Ixias and UP-Tuks emerged victorious on the opening day of the 2021 FNB Varsity Cup at the Tuks Stadium.
CUT IXIAS 46 (19) – UJ 13 (6)
After losing all five of their matches in last year’s Varsity Cup, UJ were hoping to make a winning start to the 2021 tournament, writes Bronwen Bain. However, it was CUT Ixias who made an early statement with a six-try, bonus-point win.
It was set up by the CUT pack, who dominated the UJ scrum throughout. As a result, Ixias tighthead prop Janu Botha won the Player That Rocks award.
The Bloemfontein university’s first four tries were all scored by forwards – flank Johannes Terblanche, lock Brendon Fortuin, hooker Janus Venter and No 8 Ulrich Stander, who burst away down the left touchline to score a point-of-origin try in the corner.
Stander’s seven-pointer gave CUT a 26-6 lead after 50 minutes and while wing Prince Nkabinde’s try gave UJ hope, Ixias flyhalf Charles Williams’ boot and two tries from fullback Cohen Jasper completed a convincing win. Jasper stepped past two defenders during a brilliant run to score his second.
Player That Rocks: Janu Botha (FNB CUT)
CUT Ixias – Tries: Johannes Terblanche, Brendon Fortuin, Janus Venter, Ulrich Stander (1×7) Cohen Jasper (2). Conversions: Charles Williams (4). Penalties: Williams (2).
UJ – Try: Prince Nkabinde. Conversion: Jonathan Viljoen. Penalties: Viljoen (2).
UP-TUKS 48 (15) – WITS 25 (18)
UP-Tuks switched gears in the second half to record a bonus-point win against Wits, writes Dan Lombard.
It was the visitors who hit the ground running with a try by hooker Morne Brandon after five minutes. He followed up with his brace 13 minutes later as the blue machine used their powerful forwards to dominate the lineout.
UP-Tuks fullback Alex-Zander du Plessis kept his charges within a shout of the opposition as he landed five penalties while his counterpart on the kicking tee, flyhalf Christian Humphries, added a conversion and a penalty to hand Wits a slender 18-15 lead at the break.
UP-Tuks returned the favour in the second half as they maintained possession while playing in the right areas and their efforts were rewarded within three minutes as inside centre Louritz van der Schyff finished off a sweeping movement with a point-of-origin try.
Rugby fans will know how descriptive the banter between forwards and backs is and the UP-Tuks forwards ensured one of their own bagged the next five-pointer via replacement prop Dewald Donald.
The Johannesburg-based Witsies enjoyed a family affair as replacement hooker Justin Brandon, older brother of Morne, crossed the whitewash.
A touching moment was when UP-Tuks replacement Werner Fourie took the field after recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumour that was diagnosed after round one last season.
The final 10 minutes belonged to the Stripe Generation as replacement loose forward Stephan Smit and scrumhalf Clyde Lewis crossed the chalk, while Du Plessis ended the evening with 10/10 kicks at goal.
Player That Rocks: Alex-Zander du Plessis (FNB UP-Tuks)
UP-Tuks – Tries: Louritz van der Schyff (1×7), Dewald Donald, Stephan Smit, Clyde Lewis. Conversions: Alex-Zander du Plessis (4). Penalties: Du Plessis (6).
Wits – Tries: Morne Brandon (2), Justin Brandon. Conversions: Christian Humphries (2). Penalties: Humphries (2).
The remaining three matches of round one will be played at Tuks Stadium on Monday: NWU Eagles vs Madibaz (3pm), UWC vs FNB UFS Shimlas (5pm) and UCT Ikeys vs Maties (7pm).
All three matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport channel 211.