Maties send ominous warning
Cape Town - Former Varsity Cup champions, Maties, made their 2012 intentions clear with a superb 52-2 opening-round win over the TUT Vikings in Stellenbosch on Monday evening.
The Men in Maroon - winners of the Varsity Cup between 2008 and 2010, before surrendering their title last year - scored seven tries to nil after racking up a 26-2 half-time lead.
One would always expect a wing, or perhaps a centre, to come away with a brace of tries in a big win like this, but it was giant lock Grant Hattingh who was smiling more than most after collecting a hat-trick of tries.
And, not far behind an elated Hattingh was giant prop - and the aptly nicknamed - Os Hamman who, excuse the pun, weighed in with a brace of tries.
The Vikings arrived at the Danie Craven Stadium with a point to prove, after a dismal 2011 Varsity Cup campaign, and they took an early 2-0 lead after a series of Maties errors handed flyhalf Hansie Graaff a shot at goal. (Remember, of course, the change in scoring this year - two points for a penalty or a drop-goal and three points for a conversion.)
That, however, was to be the visitors' only points on the night as Chean Roux's charges took things up a level - firstly through centre Wessel Coetzee (the eventual Man of the Match) who ran a brilliant line off his inside centre Louis Jordaan to register the hosts' first points.
Hattingh's first try soon afterwards made it 16-2 and when Hamman crashed over - to make it 24-2 - it was basically game, set and match already.
Flyhalf André Kemp had added all three first-half conversions and his first penalty of the night made it 26-2, before missing two conversions in the second half as the two H's, Hattingh and Hamman, scored again to make it 36-2.
Hattingh's hat-trick score, converted this time, made it 44-2 and the rest of the match was a bit disappointing as the Maties butchered a number of try-scoring opportunities.
However, the game did end on a high for the men in Maroon as replacement flyhalf André Smith - a new recruit in Matie-land - crossed for their seventh try before full-time, with replacement scrumhalf Donald Stevens converting.
Tries: Coetzee, Hattingh 3, Hamman 2, Smith
Cons: Kemp 4, Stevens
Maties: 15 Ryan Nell, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Wessel Coetzee, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 Tythan Adams, 10 André Kemp, 9 Boela Abrahams, 8 Tertius Daniller, 7 Helmut Lehmann (captain), 6 Sam Mabombo, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Grant Hattingh, 3 Os Hamman, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Substitutes: 16 Alfred Ries, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 JP Swanepoel, 20 Donald Stevens, 21 André Smith, 22 Clearance Khumalo, 23 Hein van der Merwe.
TUT: 15 Brahm du Preez, 14 Craig Pheiffer, 13 Rikus de Beer, 12 Hagen Munba, 11 Ruan van Loo, 10 Hansie Graaff, 9 Nico Smuts, 8 Wikus Botes, 7 Yves Basiya, 6 Ryno Coetzee, 5 Steph Nel, 4 Ewald Mare, 3 Dandre van der Westhuyzen, 2 Johan Pieterse (captain), 1 Coert van Gerve.
Substitutes: 16 Zandre Grobler, 17 Nico van den Heever, 18 Gavin Engelbrecht, 19 Ryno Lopes, 20 Rhuwanne Pienaar, 21 Melcolm Griffiths, 22 Craig van Rooi, 23 Nathi Sethusse.
Referee: Ben Crouse
Assistant referees: Daniel Fortuin, Hein Gericke