UJ too good for Madibaz
Johannesburg - The University of Johannesburg (UJ) brought the Madibaz back down to earth with a thud - the home side recording a 48-18 Varsity Cup Round Three win over the Men from Port Elizabeth on Monday.
The hosts scored three tries in each half, which, coupled with a flawless goalkicking performance from flyhalf Guy Cronjé was enough to give them a comfortable victory over a determined Madibaz side.
The team from Port Elizabeth tackled their hearts out and showed that they can be dangerous on attack as well, but UJ's dominance in terms of territory and possession eventually translated into a convincing win for the home side, despite a fairly high error-rate.
UJ got on the front foot early on in the slippery conditions at the UJ Stadium, and although their line-out work was not as slick as they would have liked they managed to launch a powerful driving maul in an attacking position and hooker Shaun Malton was on hand to crash over for the opening try.
At that stage there was only really one team in the game with NMMU showing good character to fend off the continuous raids on their tryline, and the dam wall finally burst when wing Chrysander Botha was put over in the corner for the second try.
The Namibian World Cup star made it a double when he got over in the left corner again following good hands from fullback Worsie Kotze - his World Cup teammate - and flanker Jaco Kriel who shifted it wide to the flying wing.
Cronjé's conversion made it 24-0 to UJ, and it seemed a long way back for the visiting team.
However, the Madibaz showed the kind of determination that got them a surprise last-gasp win over Shimlas in Bloemfontein last week and scored tries on either side of half-time which gave the home side something to think about.
Flank Ulrich Pretorius crashed over just before the break after a driving maul from an attacking line-out and NMMU skipper Jaco Swanepoel added a similar try after half-time to make it 24-10 in favour of UJ.
That double-strike seemed to spark UJ back into action and they responded by storming into Madibaz territory once more.
The home side clinched the bonus point when right wing JR Esterhuizen finished a well-worked move by getting over in the corner and the touchline conversion from Cronjé made it 32-10, ruling out another NMMU comeback.
Lions hooker Francois du Toit stretched the lead when he got over for a try after replacing Malton, and Cronjé's unerring boot made it 40-10 to the home team.
To their credit, the Madibaz never gave up the fight and following a yellow card to UJ replacement RJ Liebenberg for an early tackle they managed to get over for a late consolation try when loosehead prop Godfrey Evans barreled his way over the line.
However, UJ were to have the last say when skipper Justin Wheeler got over on the stroke of full-time for his team's sixth try, bringing an end to a scrappy game in which the home team were never really fully threatened by the Madibaz.
Tries: Malton, Botha 2, Esterhuizen, Du Toit, Wheeler
Cons: Cronjé 6
Tries: Pretorius, Swanepoel, Godfrey
UJ: 15 Worsie Kotze, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Luan Steenkamp, 12 Divan van Zyl, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Guy Cronjé, 9 Rudi Paige, 8 Justin Wheeler (captain), 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Johan van Deventer, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Jaco Vermeulen, 2 Shaun Malton, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Njabulo Mkize, 18 Marnus van Huyssteen, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Justin St. Jerry, 22 Aubrey McDonald, 23 Heinrich Terblanche.
NMMU: 15 Gerrit Smith, 14 Mayibuye Ndwandwa, 13 Quinton Crocker (vice-captain), 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anton Verster, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Charlie Purdon, 8 Jaco Swanepoel (captain), 7 Timothy Agaba, 6 Ulrich Pretorius, 5 André Goosen, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Ross David-Anderson, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey.
Replacements: 16 Kobus Greeff, 17 Gareth Hartley, 18 Schalk Oelofse, 19 Jaco Otto, 20 Marlin Ruiters, 21 Bradley Kretzman, 22 Devon Lailvaux, 23 Phillip Nel.
Referee: Jason Jaftha
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: JC Fortuin
Varsity Cup results on Monday:
UJ 48 NMMU 18; TUT 2 UCT 66; Maties 20 Shimlas 7; Tuks 40 Pukke 20.