Varsity Cup

Pukke break Madibaz hearts

2014-03-24 22:11
Varsity Cup (File)
Potchefstroom - A late penalty from replacement Rhyno Smith saw Pukke clinch a 19-18 victory over NMMU in Potchefstroom to set up their first-ever home Varsity Cup final.

Pukke will host the UCT Ikey Tigers in the final on April 7 after edging the Madibaz in a dramatic finish as the Eastern Cape side went down by a single point in their second consecutive semifinal.

The home side made the early running as they surged into the NMMU 22 with purpose, and it was not long before flank Rhyk Welgemoed dived over for the opening try next to the posts.

There was no respite for the Madibaz as NWU-Pukke got right back on the front foot and some quick hands saw wing Luther Obi get over for their second try which gave them a healthy 13-0 lead inside the opening ten minutes.

NMMU had hardly got their hands on the ball, and they made their first foray into opposition territory as they looked for a response, but Andile Jho was denied a try after being put over the line by a forward pass.

The Madibaz had the upper hand at scrum-time, but they could not take advantage as a few basic errors cost them points, and NWU-Pukke took their 13-0 advantage into the first strategy break.

The visitors continued to pile on the pressure and things got even tougher for NWU-Pukke when hooker Armand van der Merwe was shown a yellow card for repeated infringements in the 22.

NMMU took advantage straight away as flank Chris Cloete peeled off a maul to charge over for their first try, with the conversion from flyhalf Gavin Hauptfleisch cutting NWU-Pukke's lead to 13-8 at the half-time break

Two penalties from NWU-Pukke centre Adriaan Engelbrecht early in the second half saw them stretch their lead to 17-8, before some last-ditch defending saw them deny the Madibaz from scoring in the corner.

However, the visitors struck soon afterwards as they launched a breathtaking counter-attack from their own territory after absorbing plenty of pressure from the hosts.

Fullback Jarryd Buys picked the ball up off his bootlaces and threw a neat dummy before releasing wing Tythan Adams who finished well, with Hauptfleisch's conversion reducing the gap to 17-16 at the second strategy break.

NMMU took the lead for the first time with just 12 minutes left to play when Buys slotted a drop-goal which set up a tense finish as both teams chased a first-ever home final.

However, Smith stepped up with just two minutes left on the clock and sent the ball sailing through the uprights to the delight of the crowd to break Madibaz hearts.

Meanwhile, in the Varsity Shield John Mitchell's UKZN Impi set up a replay with the CUT Ixias in the final next week after they handed the two-time champions a 39-21 defeat in Pietermaritzburg.

The bonus-point victory sent the KwaZulu-Natal side through to their first-ever final which means that they have a chance of qualifying for promotion to the Varsity Cup.

That result ended Fort Hare's hopes of reaching the final, as although the Eastern Cape side beat the TUT Vikings 38-36 in Alice, it was not enough to overhaul the Impi who will travel to Bloemfontein next week to face the Ixias.

Next week will also see the Varsity Young Guns final between two-time champions Tuks Young Guns and UFS Young Guns who saw off the challenges of Maties and UJ Young Guns respectively.

Tuks are yet to lose a single game in the three seasons that the competition has been running, so they will be favourites on home soil against a UFS side that handed UJ their first defeat of the season.

The Koshuisrugby Championships saw two home wins in the semi-finals as well as UFS' Heimat and Patria from NWU maintained their unbeaten records this season.

Heimat saw off the challenge of last year's beaten finalists Medies in Bloemfontein whilst Patria proved too strong for the Purple Cobras from UCT to set up their final which will be played before the Varsity Cup final in a fortnight's time.

Scorers:

Pukke - 19: Tries: Welgemoed, Obi; Conversion: Engelbrecht; Penalties: Engelbrecht (2), Smith

NMMU Madibaz - 18: Tries: Cloete, Adams; Conversions: Hauptfleisch (2); Drop Goal: Buys

Teams:

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 Rhyk Welgemoed, 6 Philip de Wet, 5 Francois Robbertse, 4 Peet van der Walt, 3 Nhlanhla Ngcamu, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Mashudu Mafela

Substitutes: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Daniel Jordaan, 19 Robey Labuschagne, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Rhyno Smith, 22 Lucien Cupido, John-Roy Jenkinson

NMMU

15 Jarryd Buys, 14 Tythan Adams, 13 Michael Bernardt, 12 Andile Jho, 11 Yamkela Ngam, 10 Gavin Hauptfleisch, 9 Daniel Acker, 8 Marcel Groenewald, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Christopher Cloete, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Louis Fourie, 3 Dexter Fahey, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain)

Substitutes: 16 Jody Reynecke, 17 Abongile Mnyaka, 18 Timothy Agaba, 19 Wade Elliot, 20 Kayle van Zyl, 21 Devon Lailvaux, 22 Sinakho Mafu, 23 Simon Kerrod.

Yellow card: Armand van der Merwe (NWU-Pukke, 28 mins - repeated infringements)

Referees: Jaco Kotze, Tahla Ntshakaza
Assistant referees: Archie Sehlako, James van Oudtshoorn
TMO: Johan Greeff

Read more on:    pukke  |  nmmu madibaz  |  varsity cup  |  potchefstroom  |  rugby
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