Cape Town - UCT scored 23 points in 12 minutes to secure their place in next year’s FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International, with a 40-5 victory over UWC in Stellenbosch on Monday.
UCT, having gone winless in seven rounds of the Varsity Cup, found themselves in a do-or-die clash against UWC – who ended second in the Varsity Shield. The winner would have gained entrance into next year’s expanded Varsity Cup.
The opening 15 minutes of the match were evenly contested between the two sides, but that quickly changed. UCT used their impressive lineout to score two five-point tries through strong ball-carrying from their forwards in the 15th and 21st minute respectively. UCT flyhalf, Thomas Bednall, converted both to give his side a 14-0 lead.
UCT continued to use their strong forwards to build momentum, scoring a nine-point try in the 27th minute. The missed conversion meant little as UCT raced to a 23-0 lead in a mere 12 minutes of play. But UWC responded well in the 40th minute with a try of their own, meaning they went into halftime with five-points on the board and plenty of momentum.
UWC came back in the second half with more confidence, but were stalled when they were reduced to 14 men in the 43rd minute. Despite the setback, UWC would have been happy to be restored to a full contingent without leaking a single point.
UWC would continue to dominate the match, but a lack of support and poor defence of the ball at the breakdown meant they failed to capitalise. Even when UCT lost a player to the Afkoelstoel, UWC failed to make their advantage count.
When UCT were restored to 15 men themselves, they regained the momentum they had in the first half, scoring two tries in the 64th and 72nd minute. The conversion of the second try gave UCT a 35-5 lead with eight minutes to play – putting the result beyond doubt. An 80th minute try only rubbed salt into the wound, with the missed conversion meaning the final score was 40-5.
UCT will not reflect on this season with fondness, but they showed true character to win their last game of the season and show they deserve to remain in the Varsity Cup.
FNB Player That Rocks: Mark Prior (UCT)
Nine-point tries: Lihleli Xoli
Five-point tries: Alva Senderayi, Keagan Timm, Dylan-Lee Tidbury, Luke Stringer, Robert Anderson
Conversions: Thomas Bednall (2), Robert Anderson
Five-point tries: Lubabalo Faleni
15 Gerard Pieterse, 14 Rayno Mapoe, 13 Sebastian Roodt, 12 Lihleli Xoli, 11 Bradley Janse van Rensburg, 10 Thomas Bednall, 9 Dylan-Lee Tidbury, 8 Mark Prior, 7 Luke Stringer, 6 Alva Senderayi, 5 Gary Porter, 4 Jade Kriel, 3 Samuel Shaer-Theron, 2 Keagan Timm, 1 Joel Carew
Replacements: 16 Sean Paterson, 17 Msizi Zondi, 18 Olwethu Hans, 19 Duncan Saffy, 20 Stephen Wallace, 21 Robert Anderson, 22 Kofi Appiah, 23 Jayson Landman.
15 Darian Hock, 14 Minenhle Mthethwa, 13 Monre Lingeveldt, 12 Lubabalo Faleni, 11 Gordon-Wayne Plaatjes, 10 Aidynn Cupido, 9 Clayton Daniels, 8 Matthew Faught, 7 Jeremy Papier, 6 Philbrey Joseph, 5 Jose Julies, 4 Brandon Valentyn, 3 Tahriq Allen, 2 Peter Wanjiru, 1 Wayrin Losper.
Replacements: 16 Keenan Douw, 17 Kelvin de Bruyn, 18 Matthew le Roux, 19 Verno Treu, 20 Matthew Nortje, 21 Courtney Cupido, 22 Marcus Kleinbooi, 23 Robin Paulse