Pukke blow Ikeys away
Cape Town - The NWU-Pukke have opened their 2014 FNB Varsity Cup campaign in clinical fashion as they beat the Ikey Tigers by 47-24 at the Green Mile on Monday.
The men from Potchefstroom made a mockery of the notoriously windy conditions in Cape Town, as they built on their 21-16 half-time lead to run in four second-half tries as they played into the wind.
It was UCT who made all the early running as the hosts, and 2011 champions, powered into an early 16-0 lead - using their opportunities well into the breeze.
The wind on the Green Mile is always a factor but the hosts launched two brilliant counter-attacks against the wind in the lead-up to their tries; the first counter by wing Richard Stewart and later by wing partner Liheli Xoli.
UCT's opening tries were scored by fullback Ross Jones-Davies and powerful flank Shaun McDonald - both expertly converted by new flyhalf Dean Grant - as the hosts showed they meant business by going 16-0 up.
However, the visitors absorbed all the early pressure and launched a fightback as the game reached the half-hour mark. Pukke's kicking game kept them in the opposition's half, as the Ikeys were guilty of trying to play too much rugby against the wind and forcing a few passes.
First NWU-Pukke No 8 Juan Language crashed over from a rolling maul and then fullback Sylvian Mahuza finished well from a clinical Pukke counter attack - and some poor tackling by UCT - to put his team within touching distance at just 13-16 down.
That deficit soon became an advantage when Mahuza finished brilliantly from close-range, leaving a would-be defender in his wake with some nifty footwork.
Scrumhalf and captain Tiaan Dorfling converted from wide out and Pukke neared half-time with a 21-16 advantage - knowing, however, that they would have to play the second half into the wind.
UCT made the advantage - of having the wind at their backs - count early on when Jones-Davies collected his own chip ahead from close-range to dive over for his second try.
Grant converted and the Ikeys ran back to halfway - ahead by 24-21.
However, that is where it ended for the hosts as Pukke showed great resolve to hit back less then five minutes later when their SA Under-20 flyer Luther Obi ran in strongly on the right-hand side.
Dorfling could not convert their fourth try - as Pukke grabbed a bonus point - but at 26-24 up the match was still in the balance, although from that point onwards, Pukke held onto the ball and denied UCT possession and, with it, the advantage of having the wind behind them.
The Ikeys then suffered a double blow just before the start of the final quarter when the visitors scored a try under the posts through replacement forward Philip de Wet - which Dorfling converted for a 34-24 lead - but worse was to follow right afterwards when Ikeys reserve Jason Klaasen was sin-binned.
Klaasen's absence was not felt on the scoreboard, but it meant more work for his teammates and, as a result, tired the Ikeys out ahead of the final ten minutes - as the visitors continued to boss the possession stakes.
Pukke were then able to rub further salt into their wounds by scoring two more tries - through lock Francois Robbertse and replacement forward Daniel Jordaan.
Dorfling converted Robbertse's try as they neared the 50-point mark, the visitors finishing with seven tries to UCT's three - a statistic which is tough to argue against.Scorers:UCT:
24 - Tries:
Jones-Davies (2), McDonald; Conversions:
Grant (3)NWU-Pukke: 47 - Tries:
Language, Mahuza (2), Obi, De Wet, Robbertse, Jordaan; Conversions:
Dorfling (4)Teams:UCT: 1
5 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Guy Schwikkard, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Liam Slatem (captain), 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Vince Jobo, 6 Shaun McDonald, 5 Jan Uys, 4 James Kilroe, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Joel Carew
Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 David Maasch, 18 Kyle Kriel, 19 Jason Klaasen, 20 James Alexander, 21 Suwilanji Chibale, 22 Martin Sauls, 23 Robin MurrayNWU-Pukke:
15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Edmar Marais, 13 Jaap Pienaar, 12 Adriaan Engelbrecht, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Johnny Welthagen, 9 Tiaan Dorfling (captain), 8 Juan Language, 7 Henro-Pierre Swart, 6 Rhyk Welgemoed, 5 Francois Robbertse, 4 Peet van Der Walt, 3 Elardus Venter, 2 Armand van Der Merwe, 1 Mashudu Mafela
Substitutes: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Daniel Jordaan, 19 Philip de Wet, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Rhyno Smith, 22 Lucian Cupido, 23 Lhlanhla Ngoama
Referees: Daniel Fortuin, Quinton Immelman