Maties march to victory
Stellenbosch - Varsity Cup champions, FNB Maties, overcame a lethargic first-half display to open their 2011 Varsity Cup campaign with a 32-6 win over FNB Pukke in front of a capacity crowd at the Danie Craven Stadium, in Stellenbosch, on Monday night.
The half-time score was locked at six points apiece. However, after the break Maties ran in four unanswered tries to run out convincing winners.
The first half was by and large a war of attrition as two sets of forwards were hell-bent on taking the ball across the advantage line by trying to smash their way up-field.
Pukke had the lion's share of possession for most of the opening 20 minutes play; however, they were unable to convert this advantage as numerous errors crept into their play.
It was much the same story for the Maties who enjoyed a few penetrative sorties into the opposition's 22 metre area without breaching the defence.
Flyhalf Niëll Jacobs (Pukke) with two drop-goals, and scrumhalf Donald Stevens (Maties) with as many penalties, were the only ones to trouble the scoreboard, which stood at 6 points apiece, when the half-time siren blew.
Whatever was said in the Maties' dressing-room during the break seemingly had a profound effect as they wasted no time in imposing themselves spectacularly on the match.
Such was their impact that the Maties scored two converted tries to leapfrog ahead 20-6, a mere 13 minutes into second-half play.
First flanker Helmut Lehman smashed his way over after which forwards and backs combined splendidly before lock Hugo Kloppers rounded off near the corner flag.
Just on the hour, with the match seemingly beyond the Pukke as the Maties maintained a vice-like grip on proceedings, the home side sent on several replacements who added to the visitors' woe.
Substitute prop Os Hamman, a lookalike of the Springbok legend Os du Randt, crashed over for a 65th try and reserve flyhalf André Kemp added the conversion, to open up a commanding 21-point lead (27-6).
For the rest of the match the Pukke were on the backfoot as the Maties unleashed a series of raids on the opposition tryline, which was once more breached when substitute wing Tshotsho Mbovane ran in for the final try of the match to crown a splendid second-half display (32-6).
The FNB Pukke team: 15 Willem Barnard, 14 Andrew van Wyk, 13 Ruan Jacobs, 12 George Tossel, 11 Johannes Seerane, 10 Niell Jacobs, 9 Johan Laker, 8 Johannes Pretorius, 7 Thabo Mamojele, 6 Johannes Rose, 5 Victor Kruger, 4 Ligtoring Landman (captain), 3 Marthinus Dreyer, 2 Christiaan Schoonraad, 1 Henri Scharneck.
Replacements: 16 Johan Oberholzer, 17 Dewald Coetzee, 18 Solomzi Sotsaka, 19 Cornell du Preez, 20 Tiaan Dorfling, 21 John Welthagen, 22 Tershwin Raubenheimer, 23 Stephanus Bezuidenhout.
The FNB Maties team: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Ryan Nell, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 Tythan Adams, 10 Jody Rose, 9 Donald Stevens, 8 Tertius Daniller, 7 Meyer Swanepoel, 6 Helmut Lehman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Hugo Kloppers, 3 Buhle Mxunyelwa, 2 Callie Visagie (captain), 1 Johan Roets.
Replacements: 16 Gareth Light, 17 Os Hamman, 18 Andrew Prior, 19 Sam Mabombo, 20 James Alexander, 21 André Kemp, 22 Tshotsho Mbovane, 23 Suan Havenga.
Referee: Rasta Rashivenga
TMO: JC Fortuin