14-man UCT do the necessary
Cape Town - The FNB Ikey Tigers, who lost flanker Nizaam Carr to a red card early in the second half, held their nerve to record a well-deserved 45-16 bonus-point win over the FNB TUT Vikings in Cape Town on Monday.
UCT mustered a sublime defensive effort when Carr was shown his second yellow card - for a technical infringement - and they counter-attacked to perfection on their way to a hard-fought victory; their fourth in a row this season.
The match was a very stop-star affair with penalties galore in typically blustery conditions in the Mother City (or, rather, at the Green Mile!), with both teams preferring to keep the ball in hand rather than risk kicking in such a strong wind.
Both teams started strongly with excellent defensive work, but it was the Ikeys who kept the scoreboard ticking over during the first half, as flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis used the wind at his back to convert four long-range penalties - thereby punishing TUT for some ill-discipline at the breakdown.
TUT found their way into the match after Tigers flank Carr was yellow-carded towards the end of the first half for a dangerous tackle.
The visitors spent the end of the first half camping out on the UCT line until, finally, their numerical advantage paid off and flyhalf Ruan Boshoff broke through a tackle and went over under the posts to give himself the simplest of conversions making the score 12-7 to UCT.
The TUT try jolted UCT into action, and just before the break they struck twice in succession - first from an attacking scrum when outside centre Therlow Pietersen ran a perfect line and swerved past three would-be tacklers to score the Tigers' opening try.
Moments later the ball was spread wide once again and UCT centre Adrian Kritzinger put fullback Ricky Rijs into a gaping hole in the TUT backline. The strongly-built Rijs needed no second invitation to stretch his legs and score his second try in as many weeks as UCT led 26-7 at half-time.
In the second half it was TUT's turn to use the wind to their advantage and Boshoff was able to pull his team back into the game with two well-taken penalties.
UCT suffered a major blow when Carr didn't roll away after making a tackle close to the tryline and was given his marching orders with a second yellow card - leaving the Ikeys a man down with 30 minutes left on the clock.
It was 14-men apiece five minutes later after a deliberate knock-down by TUT lock Emile Verster saw him yellow carded and UCT set up a rolling maul for replacement prop Francois van Wyk to rumble over for the try.
The Tigers then extended their lead with ten minutes to go when replacement lock Pallo Manuel - on debut - timed his run perfectly to collect Ricky Schroeder's pass and crash over for the bonus point try.
UCT made certain of the victory in the final moments when the backline spread the ball wide to expose a scrambling TUT defence and wing Pete Haw neatly passed the ball inside for replacement centre Nick Holton to go over for his first try in Blue & White.
For FNB UCT:
Tries: Pietersen, Rijs, Van Wyk, Manuel, Holton
Cons: Catrakilis 4
Pens: Catrakilis 4
For the FNB TUT Vikings:
Pens: Boshoff 3
UCT: 15 Ricky Rijs, 14 Pete Haw, 13 Therlow Pietersen, 12 Adrian Kritzinger, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Greg Mallett, 7 Nick Fenton-Wells (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Don Armand, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Matt Page, 1 Wes Chetty.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Pallo Manuel, 19 Zandy Macdonald, 20 Nick Farrar, 21 Nick Holton, 22 Jannie Bester, 23 Pete Olivier.
TUT: 15 Justin van Staden, 14 Andisa Gqobo, 13 Hansie Graaff, 12 Lutho Nyeka, 11 Thom Seabela, 10 Ruan Boshoff, 9 Ettienne Greeff, 8 Wessel Cronjé, 7 Wikus Botes (captain), 6 Vince Gwavu, 5 JJ Breet, 4 Emile Verster, 3 Juan-Phillip Pike, 2 Johan Pieterse, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Mbonambi Bongi, 17 Anton Krynauw, 18 Mare Ewald, 19 Julian Erasmus, 20 Manny Raposo, 21 Simphiwe Mtimkulu, 22 Ruan van Loo, 23 Dandré van der Westhuyzen.
Referee: Mlungiseli Mdashe
TMO: JC Fortuin