Cape Town - A five minute, 31-points blitz helped Tuks record a comfortable 45-23 win over the Madibaz in a Varsity Cup encounter at the Cape Town Stadium.
After suffering three consecutive defeats in the opening three rounds of the competition, Tuks have now placed themselves in the perfect position to qualify for the playoffs with one game left. Madibaz, on the other hand, were only playing for pride, and looked like that would be enough when they led 16-14 at halftime.
A strong wind down field meant Tuks were unable to rely on their accurate territorial kicks to control proceedings, and losing this valuable weapon told on their first half performance. It would take 22 minutes before a strong rolling maul from a lineout handed Tuks their first try of the match. Despite the windy conditions, Joshua Stander added the extras for a seven-point cushion.
However, Madibaz would take control of the remainder of the match, using the wind to their advantage. A fantastic nine-point try in the 28th minute handed them the lead despite the missed conversion. The men from Port Elizabeth were in no mood to take their foot off the pedal as they continued to dominate proceedings, with a try in the 37th minute paying dividends. Tuks wouldn’t go down without a fight, and a penalty try to the Pretoria men in the 40th minute would have reminded Madibaz that the match isn’t over until the final whistle. Stander’s second conversion brought the scores to 16-14 in Madibaz’s favour at halftime.
Tuks came out at the second half now with the wind at their backs, and used it to great effective. Between the 41st and 46th minute, Tuks would score one seven-point and two nine-point tries to suddenly turn the game on its head. Stander’s performance in front of the posts would continue as he slotted all three conversion to take the scores from 14-16 to 45-16 in the space of five minutes.
While the opening 10 minutes of the second half would showcase Tuks’ attacking credentials, the remainder of the game would require a magnificent defensive effort – which they duly provided. Madibaz would throw everything at FNB Tuks as they desperately tried to claw their way back into the game. But a converted five-point try in 58th minute would be all they could muster, as Tuks’ wall of defence would prove to be a formidable one. Madibaz’s next clash against FNB CUT could now be a battle to avoid relegation.
Ultimately, FNB Tuks’ 31-points in five minutes and resolute defence sealed another must-win for the Pretoria side. They will go into their last game of the regular season next week Monday against FNB UCT at 12h45 with a lot of confidence. And justifiably so.
FNB Player That Rocks: Duncan Matthews (FNB Tuks)
Nine-point tries: Dries Swanepoel, Luke van der Smit
Seven-points tries: Riaan Britz
Five-points tries: Corniel Els, Penalty Try
Cons: Joshua Stander (5)
Nine-point tries: Tyler Paul
Five-points tries: Lindelwe Zungu, Ivon-John du Preez
Cons: Thomas Kean (2)
15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Riaan Britz, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Toko Maebane, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Joshua Stander, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Clyde Davids, 7 Luke van der Smit, 6 Ruan Steenkamp (c), 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Aston Fortuin, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel
16 Jan Enslin, 17 Du Toit Genis, 18 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 19 Gerrit Engelbrecht, 20 Carlo Engelbrecht, 21 Tinus de Beer, 22 Keanan van Wyk, 23 Justin Forwood
15 Lindelwe Zungu, 14 Ivon-John du Preez, 13 Keanu Vers, 12 Jeremy ward (c), 11 Khaya Malotwana, 10 Thomas Kean, 9 Sibusiso Ngcokovane, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 Stephanus Nieuwoudt, 5 Gerrit Huisamen, 4 Tyler Paul (vc), 3 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 2 Warrick Venter, 1 Marzuk Maarman
Replacements: 16 Jedwyn Harty, 17 Nemo Roelofse, 18 Elandre van der Merwe, 19 Henry Brown, 20 Riaan Esterhuizen, 21 Luan Niewoudt, 22 Andile Jho, 23 Ronald Byel