Varsity Cup Round 5 Review

Ikeys win at home, UJ thrash Shimlas, and Wits steal a draw against the Maties in Round 5 of the Varsity Cup.

UCT dash UP-Tuks’ hopes

FNB UP-Tuks’ hopes of reclaiming the Varsity Cup were all but lost after being handed their fifth-straight defeat by FNB UCT, 23-13, at the Green Mile on Monday evening.

FNB UP-Tuks came out of the blocks firing in the first half with the men from Pretoria getting onto the scoreboard first. The FNB UCT defence was resolute in the opening half, keeping FNB UP-Tuks at bay until FNB UP-Tuks full-back broke through the line to score.

David Manuel's men held their lead well before conceding scored a try through FNB UCT captain Josh Moon which was converted by wing Karl Martin.

FNB UCT flank Xaba Kuyenzeka scored moments later which marked the end of FNB UP-Tuks lead with the eventual FNB Player That Rocks taking the score to 14-13 once the conversion was made by Martin.

FNB UCT outside centre Liam Furnis scored the only 7-point try of the game making the score 23-13 to FNB UCT.

After five losses in a row FNB UP-Tuks will have to pray they win the rest of their games and the permutations go their way to reach the Semi-Finals.

FNB Player That Rocks: Xaba Kuyenzeka (FNB UCT)


UCT Ikeys: 23
Tries: Josh Moon, Xaba Kuyenzenka, Liam Furnis
Cons: Karl Martin 2 Brian Martin

FNB UP-Tuks: 13
Tries: Christo Hamman, Adriaan Serane
Pen: Tinus de Beer

UJ slam Shimlas in their own backyard   

FNB UJ beat FNB Shimlas convincingly, 49-12, in the fifth round of the Varsity Cup in Bloemfontein at Xerox Shimla Park on Monday night.

FNB UJ started off with physical rugby showing their intention to use the forwards to carry the ball and to draw in the backline players to expose the defence of the FNB Shimlas. FNB UJ dominated territory and ball possession in the first five minutes but could not round off play due to handling errors. Flyhalf Kobus Engelbrecht opened the scoreboard for FNB UJ in the 11th minute of the game with a penalty kick to put them in the lead with three points.

FNB Shimlas’ flyhalf had an opportunity in the 14th minute to level the score with a penalty kick from the 10-metre mark but was unsuccessful. FNB UJ answered with attacking play and scored the first try of the match when scrumhalf Bradley Thain went over for a seven-pointer, converted by Kobus Engelbrecht, stretching the score to 12-0 after sixteen minutes of play.

Engelbrecht made sure that FNB UJ kept their momentum when he converted a penalty in the 26th minute to stretch the score to 15-0. Finally, FNB Shimlas crossed the line in the 31st minute after winger Athi Halom went over in the corner following the FNB Shimlas swinging the ball wide from a third-phase ball. Naude was unsuccessful with the conversion taking the score to 15-5 for FNB UJ.

In the 35th minute flanker Janco Cloete was seriously injured after foul play from FNB UJ debutant Seun Maduna, who was send off with a red card leaving FNB UJ with only 14 players on the field. On the stroke of half time FNB UJ scored again; a second try for scrumhalf Bradley Thain, as he went over and Engelbrecht converted the try to stretch the score to 24-5 just after half time.

FNB Shimlas started the second half with more intensity and structure to no avail. FNB Shimlas’ flyhalf Nicolaas Naude could not control the ball on attack and a fumble handed FNB UJ winger Odwa Nkunjana an intercept and he scored a seven-pointer with Engelbrecht converting the try to stretch the lead to 33-5 just four minutes into the second half.

FNB UJ were not done just yet. After good attacking play from fullback Ronald Brown flanker Adriaan Bester went over in the 49th minute for a seven-pointer, and FNB UJ’s fourth try, converted by Engelbrecht, stretching the lead to 42-5.

FNB UJ received their second card, when winger Tatendaishe Mujawe was sent off with a in the 55th minute for foul play. FNB UJ still managed to cross the line for their fifth try when Ronald Brown scored yet another a seven-pointer in the corner after several phases. FNB Shimlas managed a consolation try and scored a five-pointer through winger Francois Agenbag. It was converted by Naude taking the score to 49-12 which is how it ended.
The six changes to FNB Shimlas clearly had a negative impact, and they could not retain possession and kicked far too much ball possession away.

FNB Player that Rocks: Ronald Brown (FNB UJ)


FNB Shimlas: 12
Tries: Halom Athi, Francois Agenbag
Cons:  Nicolaas Naude
Pens: Nicolaas Naude

FNB UJ: 49
Tries:  Bradley Thain (2), Odwa Nkunjana, Adriaan Bester, Ronald Brown
Cons: Kobus Engelbrecht (4)
Pens: Kobus Engelbrecht (2)
Yellow cards: Taitendaishe Mujawo
Red cards: Seun Maduna

Wits score late equaliser to end Maties’ winning streak

Monday evening saw FNB Varsity Cup action return to the Wits Rugby Stadium. The game was an incredible one between hosts FNB Wits and log leaders FNB Maties, as the two played out to a thrilling 30-30 draw after FNB Wits scored a converted seven-point try on the hooter.

The game got underway with the visitors FNB Maties, showing great intent at the start of the game, putting the hosts on the back foot from the onset. Their efforts were rewarded in as early as just after the seventh minute mark, when FNB Maties winger Edwill van der Merwe crossed over in the corner for an unconverted try. The visitors continued to put the Witsies under pressure and they managed to run in a further two tries to take the score to 17-0.

FNB Wits did, however, slowly get into the game and they garbbed their first try through fullback Tyron Green, who managed to pick up a pass after some great hands from the FNB Wits backs to dot down in the corner in fine style. The Witsies were still not done for the half, when they dashed over for a seven-pointer shortly courtesy of inside centre AJ Van Blerk, with flyhalf Chris Humphries this time making no mistake with the conversion, to take the score to 14-17 to FNB Maties at the break.

The second half saw more of a contest from both teams, with the home side looking for a way to get one over the log leaders. It was however not to be, as FNB Maties struck first once more after the half’s strategy break to extend their lead to  24-14. The men from Stellenbosch were then awarded and converted a penalty just in the FNB Wits half, after the referee spotted some dangerous play from the Witsies. This extended their lead to 27-14 with about 15 minutes left on the clock.

The hosts then seemed to come alive and ploughed away at the FNB Maties defence, until FNB Wits substitute Taine Chabant sliced through to score a converted try and bring FNB Wits within 6 points of FNB Maties. The last 10 minutes then saw the teams then fight to secure the win but it was the visitors that got the points when they received another penalty about 40m out, which Chris Smith slotted to bring the score to 21-30 with five minutes to play.

It was in interesting last few moments with FNB Wits showing great fire and passion, like they have all season. They were eventually rewarded for their hard work, when they scored a seven-point try, which was converted as they drew level with the FNB Maties to share the spoils and become the first side to prevent an FNB Maties victory in 2018.

FNB Player of the Match: Chippie Oelofse (FNB Maties)


FNB Wits: 30
Tries: Tyrone Green (2), AJ Van Blerk, Taine Chabant
Cons: Chris Humphries (3)

FNB Maties: 30
Tries: Edwill Van Der Merwe, Eldoe Schoeman, Johan Momsen
Cons: Chris Smith
Pens: Chris Smith (2)

Image: Luke Thorrold

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