Cape Town - UP-Tuks showed character to hold off Maties to win the 10th instalment
of the Varsity Cup with the scoreboard glowing 28-21 (half-time
13-15) after 80 minutes in an exhilarating final at the Tuks Rugby
AS IT HAPPENED: TUKS 28-21 MATIES
UP-Tuks became only the second university (after Maties) to win
the coveted trophy on three occasions and the men from Pretoria did so on a
perfect autumn evening in the capital.
It was the visitors who started with a bang as lock Janco Venter crashed
over for a seven-point try after a few solid phases of play from the Maroon
Machine. Flyhalf Chris Smith added the extras to give the Stellenbosch
University a 9-0 lead.
UP-Tuks cut into that lead three minutes later when captain and flank Chris Massyn barged over to claim a try of his own. Flyhalf
Tinus de Beer converted to make it a two-point ball game within 10 minutes of
Maties' sharpshooters Smith and Tiaan Swanepoel (fullback) were on
hand to punish the home team for their ill-discipline as they slotted two
penalties while De Beer nailed a penalty of his own to bring the curtain down
on a gripping first half.
Maties kept the scoreboard ticking early in the second half when
Smith sliced the uprights within a minutes of play to extend the Stellenbosch
students lead to 13-18.
UP-Tuks outside centre Divan Rossouw handed his team the lead when
he intercepted a wayward pass to race in untouched and score a seven-point try in the 46th minute. De Beer converted and added a penalty
minutes later to give the Pretoria students a handy 25-18 lead with just under
30 minute left to play.
The final lapsed into a period of back and forth play between the two
teams as they battled for supremacy with the packed stadium frantically
cheering on the home side.
UP-Tuks suffered a huge setback when replacement prop Jaco
Holtzhausen was sinbinned which Maties duly capitalised through the boot of
Smith to reduce the score to 25-21.
De Beer was on hand to add his final points of the night in the 67th
minute when he kicked yet another penalty goal to increase UP-Tuks slender
lead over the visitors.
The teams proceeded to throw everything at each other with time running
out but it was De Beer who put up his hand as he consistently kept Maties
pinned in their own half with his field kicks. Maties had an opportunity to
snatch victory from the clutches of defeat but a forward pass brought an end to
their movement and handed UP-Tuks the 2017 Varsity Cup trophy.
Player that Rocks: Clyde Davids
Tries: Chris Massyn, Divan Rossouw (7 pt try)
Conversions: Tinus de Beer (2)
Penalties: De Beer (4)
Tries: Janco Venter (7 pt try)
Conversion: Chris Smith
Penalties: Smith (3), Tiaan Swanepoel
15. Manie Libbok, 14. Dewald Naude, 13. Divan
Rossouw, 12. Joshua Stander, 11. Sibahle Maxwane, 10. Tinus de Beer, 9. Andre
Warner, 8. Clyde Davids, 7. Chris Massyn (captain), 6. Marco van Staden, 5. Aston
Fortuin, 4. Brian Leitch, 3. Neethling Fouche, 2. Corniel Els, 1. Andrew
Substitutes: 16. Jan-Henning Campher, 17. Jaco Holtzhausen, 18. Marius
Verwey, 19. Eduan Lubbe, 20. Theo Maree, 21. Toko Maebane, 22. Keanan van Wyk,
23. Franco van den Berg