Cape Town - Varsity Cup champs, University of Stellenbosch (Maties) ran in seven tries en route to a 49-17 victory over the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in their fourth round Varsity Cup clash at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, on Monday evening.
The match ended on a dramatic note as three tries- two by the Maties -were scored in the final four minutes of the match.
The visitors from 'The Windy City' must have felt at home when a howling South-Easter greeted the teams as they made their way on to field but a mere two minutes into the match they were reminded that the brute force of Maties rugby was going to be an even bigger factor.
Hooker and Captain Callie Visagie dotted down after the Maties pack steamrolled their way over the tryline and three minutes later scrumhalf Donald Stevens rounded off splendidly for his side's second try. Donald was successful with the conversion.
But the Port Elizbeth students regrouped and even managed to transfer play to the Maties' 22-metre area for a 12-minute passage of play during, which they were held up thrice, just short of the tryline.
To add insult to injury they also missed three penalty attempts, but they did manage to open their account shortly after the water break when their flyhalf Bradley Kretzmann finally found his range, just moments before Stevens landed a penalty (15-3).
Prior to the interval, the Maties pinned the visitors down in their 22-metre area but with the spoiling wind playing havoc with their longer passes, PE students managed to stage a telling break-out which ended with lock Louis Fourie scoring the Madibas' first try. Kretzmann added the conversion for an 18-10 scoreline.
On the stroke of halftime, fullback Ruan Combrinck crashed over at the corner flag to give the Maties a 13-point halftime lead after his conversion attempt was blown away (23-10).
The Maties seemed to adopt a more direct approach after the break in an attempt to eliminate errors and the ploy worked well as they camped on the Madibas' tryline.
Rightwing Ryan Nell made the effort good when he ran in to score twice, once at either corner flag, and Combrinck converted splendidly once from the touchline after 16 minutes of second-half play (35-10).
The 'Madibas' regrouped and managed to put pressure on the Maties, who battled to keep their defence intact, for almost the rest of the remaining play.
However, just when it looked as if it was all over, the game came alive, in the space of the final four minutes, the Madibas scored a try, followed by two more converted tries from the Maties to take the final score to 49-17.
Maties: Tries: Callie Visagie, Donald Stevens, Ruan Combrinck, Ryan Nell (2), Louis Jordaan, Chris van Zyl. Conversions: Stevens, Combrinck, Jarryd Buys (2). Penalties: Stevens (2).
NMMU: Tries: Louis Fourie, Makholokoe Ramashala. Conversions: Bradley Kretzmann, Shannon Rick Penalty: Kretzmann.