I watch the game between Wits and UJ and again was disappointed with the quality of play in this year's Varsity Cup. Admittingly it is still early in the season but the defence and decision making was well below expected standards and honestly, I could not imagine any of the four teams I already saw this season remotely stand a chance against the mighty Maties.
However, the biggest surprise must be the win by UWC against a Shimlas team that struggled a lot at home. With this win UWC opened up a Wits made history in beating UJ for the first time after six attempts in the Varsity Cup. The previous two years it was UJ who "stole" the match in the last minute, this time it was Wits that scored a seven pointer in the last ten minutes to "steal" it.
Wits 07-06 UJ
A first-half that was played in cold rainy weather, dominated by the forwards of UJ with both teams scared to make mistake in typical derby rugby. Two penalties by UJ gave them a 6-0 lead at half time. During the last ten minutes of the match, Wits threw everything and anything from anywhere on the pitch at UJ and after a long period of pressure saw Matt MacDonald score a seven pointer which proved to be the match-winning and history-making score.
FNB Wits: Try: Matt MacDonald (point-of-origin)
FNB UJ: Penalties: PW Steenkamp (2)
FNB Wits: 15 Daniel Kasende, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Sicelo Champion, 12 Aidynn Cupido, 11 Matt MacDonald, 10 Kurt Webster, 9 Runaldo Pedro, 8 Travis Gordon, 7 Phillip Krause, 6 Constant Beckerling, 5 Franz Gerber, 4 Kevin du Randt, 3 Keagan Glade, 2 Justin Brandon (captain), 1 Cornel Greeff. Replacements: 16 Mulalo Sadiki, 17 Jason Cloete, 18 Reynard Cronjé, 19 Emmanuel Tshituka, 20 Cal Smid, 21 Hlumelo Ndudula, 22 Christian Humphries, 23 Lwazi Monakali.
FNB UJ: 15 Shaun Williams, 14 Siphamandla Matsinya, 13 Musawenkosi Tshabalala, 12 Siphesihle Radebe, 11 Tatendaishe Mujawo, 10 PW Steenkamp, 9 Divan Henning, 8 Edwin Jansen (captain), 7 Kwagga van Niekerk, 6 Kelvin Kanenungo, 5 Tyler Brown, 4 André Meyer, 3 Chergin Fillies, 2 Pierre Rabie, 1 Luke Fortuin. Replacements: 16 Darnell Osuagwu, 17 Nkosikhona Masuku, 18 Cohen Kiewit, 19 Buhle Qaba, 20 Kelvin Kanenungo, 21 Wynand Botha, 22 Seun Maduna, 23 Shaun-Christian Baxter.
CUT 23-40 TUKS
CUT's performance in the first half surprised many but indicates the improvement CUT made during the past season or two. CUT lead 20-16 at half time with both sides scoring two tries in the half. The turning point in the match was when CUT's Xavier Swartbooi was sin-binned in the 50th minute of the match. Thereafter, it was all TUKS who scored a further three tries in the last thirty minutes of the match.
FNB CUT: Tries: PJ Krugell (2), Conversions: Charles Williams (2), Penalties: Charles Williams (3).
FNB UP-Tuks: Tries: Kabelo Mokoena (2) (1 point-of-origin), Wian van Niekerk, Alex-Zander du Plessis, Sango Xamelashe (point-of-origin). Conversions: Theo Boshoff (4). Penalty: Theo Boshoff.
FNB CUT: 15 Cohen Jasper, 14 Christiaan Nel, 13 Neil Stannard, 12 Heino Bezuidenhout (capt), 11 Philip Krugel, 10 Charles Williams, 9 Xavier Swartbooi, 8 Hardus Nel, 7 Luvuyo Ndevu, 6 Johannes Terblanche, 5 Jacques Ackerman, 4 Brendon Fortuin, 3 Tebogo Masemola, 2 Janus Venter, 1 Quintin Vorster. Replacements: 16 Wandré Nortjé, 17 Edward Davids, 18 Katleho Morapane, 19 Matthew Sekele, 20 Jan Kotze, 21 Jaco Wilkinson, 22 Erasmus Breedt, 23 Karabo Maqeba.
UP-Tuks: 15 Marco Labuschagne, 14 Kabelo Mokoena, 13 Sango Xamlashe, 12 Wian van Niekerk, 11 Zandré Kruger, 10 Theo Boshoff, 9 Raegan Oranje, 8 Jaco Bezuidenhout, 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Stephan Smit, 5 Marius Verwey (captain), 4 Marcell Barnard, 3 JP Smith, 2 Keano Hendricks, 1 André van der Merwe. Replacements: 16 Arno van Wyk, 17 Ethan Burger, 18 Mogau Mabokela, 19 Ewart Potgieter, 20 Keenan Opperman, 21 Benedict Ntimba, 22 Alex-Zander du Plessis, 23 Ciaran Dayaram.
UCT 31-22 NWU
A match played in windy conditions that played a big part in UCT's revival in the second half. NWU's forwards controlled matters upfront but was limited to a 17-14 lead at halftime, mainly due to the brilliant defence from the Ikey's and their own inability to string phases together. With the wind in their backs, UCT scored two early tries to lead 28-17 with 20 minutes to go. A try by NWU and a penalty by UCT's Tedder in the last quarter gave UCT a well-deserved win with 31-22.
FNB UCT: Tries: James Tedder (point of origin), Rayno Mapoe, Gary Porter, Liam Furniss (point of origin). Conversions: James Tedder (2). Penalty: James Tedder.
FNB NWU: Tries: Khulu Mcuma, Lincoln Daniels (2), Ruan Swiegers. Conversion: Riaan Genis.
FNB UCT: 15 Athi Gazi, 14 Gerhard Pietersen, 13 Liam Furniss, 12 Michael Brink, 11 Rayno Mapoe, 10 James Tedder, 9 Kyle Bowman, 8 Liam Greenhalgh (captain), 7 Busanda Mabena, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 Gary Porter, 4 Byron Bowes, 3 Ashwyn Adams, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 1 Gugu Nelani. Replacements: 16 Josh van Vuuren, 17 Devon Arendse, 18 Luthando Woji, 19 Cornelius Otto, Byron Cranswick, 21 Liam Kloosman, 22 James McDonald, 23 Siba Mzanywa.
FNB NWU: 15 Heinrich Botha, 14 Eugene Hare, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Khulu Mcuma, 11 Lincoln Daniels, 10 Johannes Holtzhausen, 9 Riaan Genis, 8. Edmund Rheeder (captain), 7 Wandi Mazibuko, 6 Morne Piater, 5 Danny du Plooy, 4 Malemba Mpofu, 3 Matimu Manganyi, 2 Tiaan du Randt, 1 Rubin du Plessis. Replacements: 16 Stefanus Mare, 17 Jason Jansen, 18 Ruan Swiegers, 19 Jeandré Leonard, 20 Wihan Nel, 21 Caleb Louw, 22 Akhona Nela, 23 Lungelo Gosa.
UWC 29-28 Shimlas
Both teams had opportunities to run the ball early on but lost ball possession due to bad ball retention, emanating from handling errors in the first 20 minutes. As a result, the game struggled to gain momentum. However, the Shimlas took the lead at halftime with 14-7 after conceding a penalty tries late in the first half. The Shimlas scored two more tries early in the second half to stretch their lead to 28-16 with 20 minutes to go. A seven pointer and converted in the last quarter of the match gave UWC a surprising win of 29-28 over a Shimlas team that will have to look at their discipline and bad ball retention before they travel to Potchefstroom next Monday.
FNB Shimlas: Tries: Willem 'Wian' Marais, Marthinus Boshoff, Janco van Heyningen (point-of-origin), MJ Rossouw (point-of-origin). Conversions: JP Duvenage (2).
FNB UWC: Tries: Penalty try, Gilroy Philander (point-of-origin), Keagan Fortune (point-of-origin). Conversions: Keagan Fortune (2). Penalties: Keagan Fortune (2).
FNB Shimlas: 15 Cham Zondeki, 14 Janco van Heyningen, 13 Keegan Haman, 12 William Eybers (captain), 11 Marnus Boshoff, 10 JP Duvenage, 9 Rewan Kruger, 8 Bertie de Bod, 7 Ruwald van der Merwe, 6 Kamohelo Chabana, 5 Keanan Murray, 4 Sibabalo Qoma, 3 JW Meades, 2 Wihan Marais, 1 Bhekinkosi Qaba. Replacements: 16 Bandile Lekhuleni, 17 Marthinus Rossouw, 18 Carl Wijburg, 19 Rholane Ncubuka, 20 Janco Cloete, 21 Chadd Adams, 22 Keegan Haman, 2 Siyanda Cele, 23 Tiaan Schutte.
FNB UWC: 15 Gilroy Philander, 14 Peter Williams, 13 Darren Jaftha, 12 Lyle Hendricks, 11 Lundi Msenge, 10 Keagan Fortune, 9 Clayton Daniels, 8 Adriaan Paarwater, 7 Jaen-Louis de Lange, 6 Tinotenda Mavesere, 5 Matthew le Roux, 4 Pieter-Steyl Swanepoel, 3 Justin Theys, 2 Jacques van Zyl (captain), 1 Luvo Bazi. Replacements: 16 Jason Alexander, 17 Dandré Degenaar, 18 Curtly Thomas, 19 Godfrey Muzanargwo, 20 Branden de Kock, 21 Tiaan Henecke, 22 Schalk Carstens, 23 Keon Links.