UJ book semi spot
VARSITY CUP REPORT: UJ secured their semifinal spot with a hard-fought 28-23 win against a resilient Wits side in Johannesburg.
It was indeed one of the best games in the Varsity Cup thus far, both teams delivered great rugby as they headed to the break at 18-all.
In an intense game, the referee Jaco Pretorius had his work cut out for him as he handed out four yellow cards.
From the kick-off, UJ made their intentions clear as Ewan Adams took a chance with a possible drop goal from the halfway mark, unfortunately for them, it missed the posts. Admirable to the crowd but really ineffective to the team.
Soon it was the visitors who broke the deadlock as Warren Gilbert slots over the penalty.
UJ's trouble seemed to increased as they went down to 14 men when influential Aphiwe Dyantyi was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Gianni Lombard within five minutes of play.
Nel levelled matters with a penalty just inside the Wits' 10 metre. The flyhalf had an opportunity to extend the lead, but his boot failed to do so and the score remained 3-all after 10 minutes of play.
Despite being just 14-men, UJ's workrate around the park was impeccable as they kept Wits inside their own 5-metre line. Eventually after seas of attack UJ's No.8 Jo-Hanko De Villiers break through the visitor's defence and scored after Ronald Brown's break and offload.
The strategy break was followed by a successful kick by Warren Gilbert, and the second try by UJ, thanks to Jaco Fourie. The big centre charged down Gianni Lombard's kick and dived over the whitewash. Nel added the extras, 15-6
Minutes later UJ found themselves again conceding a penalty inside their own half, this time Wits opted to kick to touch and it proved to be effective as CJ Conradie scored for the visitors from a rolling maul. Gilbert slotted over the extras to trail, 13-15.
With 10 minutes left in the first stanza, Wits found themelves inside UJ's half courtesy of a perfect break by Wandisile Simelane. The visitors called on their forwards to put in the hard craft and after some great work by them, the scrumhalf Ruan Cloete sneaked in and handed Wits the lead, 18-15.
However, with five minutes left of the clock, Nel levelled matters at 18-all.
Just before the break Wits had an opportunity to extend the lead, but unfortunately Gilbert missed a penalty and the score remained 18-18.
After the break Wits went down to 14-man when Luxolo Ntsepe was given his marching orders after he received a yellow card for a late tackle.
With 14 men on the park, Wits looked vulnerable as UJ's backline produced a break unfortunately for the home side Brown's pass went forward and the score remained 18-all.
With the score deadlocked someone had to give and eventually Wits' defence caved as they went down to 13 men. This time CJ Greeff was given a yellow card. UJ opted to kick to posts and Nel kicked UJ in the lead, 21-18 after 60 minutes of play.
For the third time in the match, Wits found themselves down to 14 men when Ruan Cloete was given a yellow card for a high tackle.
UJ extended the lead to 10 after a try by Adrian Bester. The lock went over the chalk after some great interchanging passes inside the Wits' five-meters. Centre Aphiwe Dyantyi drew in two centre and his wayward pass managed to find Bester for the points. Nel slotted over the extras, 28-18 after 70 minutes.
With five minutes left on the clock, Wits again opt with the tried and tested as their hard work in the line-out got them on the front foot and eventually Graham Logan burst over for a five-pointer to trail, 23-28.
With less than a minute to go Wits won a penalty inside the UJ's half. The visitors work themselves to UJ's 22 after a successful line-out but unfortunately after more than five phases Wits lost the ball forward and UJ secured the hard-fought victory.
Tries: De Villiers, Fourie, Bester
Cons: Nel 2
Pens: Nel 3
Tries: Conradie, Cloete, Logan
Pens: Gilbert 2
Yellow Card: Aphiwe Dyantyi (UJ, 5), Luxolo Ntsepe (Wits, 47), CJ Greeff (Wits, 52), Ruan Cloete (Wits, 64)
UJ: 15 Ewan Adams, 14 Ronald Brown, 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 12 Jaco Fourie, 11 Godfrey Ramaboea, 10 Divan Nel, 9 Johan Esterhuizen, 8 Jo-Hanko De Villiers, 7 Wian Conradie, 6 Gavin Delport, 5 Adrian Bester, 4 Kevin Du Randt, 3 Nico Du Plessis, 2 Jannes Snyman (captain), 1 Waldo Weideman.
Replacements: 16 Le Roux Baard, 17 Smith, 18 Chergin Fillies, 19 Reinhardt Nothnagel, 20 Devon Mare, 21 Carlisle Jordan, 22 Peter Walters, 23 Willem Massyn.
Wits: 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Brandan Hewitt, 11 Luxolo Ntsepe, 10 Warren Gilbert (captain), 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Constant Beckerling, 7 Conor Brockschmidt, 6 Ruan Macdonald, 5 Rhyno Herbst, 4 Graham Logan, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 CJ Conradie, 1 CJ Greeff.
Replacements: 16 Justin Brandon, 17 Brandon Palmer, 18 Pascal Snyman, 19 Jethro de Lange, 20 Tyrone Green, 21 Joshua Jarvis, 22 AJ van Blerk, 23 Ameer Williams.
Referee: Jaco Pretorius
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Johan Greeff