Tuks dominate set-piece to hoist trophy
VARSITY CUP FINAL REPORT: UP-Tuks dominated the set-pieces from the outset to bag a 28-21 victory over Maties and claim their first Varsity Cup title since 2013.
The victory, Tuks' third since the inception of the competition in 2008, has now equalled Maties' record of three Cup titles. It was heartache for a second consecutive year for the men from Stellenbosch as the title continues to evade them.
Maties soaked up early pressure before winning a penalty inside their 22. They launched an attack from that point and took the ball through the phases. After getting into Tuks' 22, centre Chris Smit ran a brilliant line before offloading inside to Jaco Venter, who cantered over for the a seven-point try.
Chris Smith added the extras to hand Maties a 9-0 lead after six minutes.
Tuks then went on the attack and found themselves with an attacking scrum on Maties' five-metre line after the visitors were penalised for collapsing a maul. A powerful shove by the Tuks pack allowed captain Chris Massyn to easily dot down for a five-pointer.
Tinus de Beer made no mistake with his first kick of the game to reduce the deficit to 7-9 after 10 minutes.
Maties were happy to play a counter-attacking game and found further points in the 13th minute when Smith added a penalty after Tuks No.8 Clyde Davids was caught in an offside position on his 22.
The visitors were dealt a hefty blow in the 16th minute when try-scorer Venter was yellow carded for a tip tackle on an opponent but that mattered little as fullback Tiaan Swanepoel extended their lead to 15-7 after 26 minutes when he slotted a massive 50 metre penalty.
Tuks continued to apply the pressure and found reward with two late de Beer penalties to head into the break trailing 13-15.
Maties increased their lead to five points soon after the restart when Smith slotted his second penalty in the 44th minute but then Tuks hit back with a seven-point try to take the lead for the first time in the match.
Flyhalf de Beer chipped ahead from inside his half and outside centre Divan Rossouw chased, collected and raced away to dot down under the uprights. De Beer added the extras to hand the home side a 22-18 lead after 46 minutes.
De Beer extended the home side's lead to 25-18 in the 53rd minute when he slotted his third penalty of the match but Maties hit back straight away with a Smith penalty after Tuks' replacement prop Jaco Holtzhausen was sent to the sin bin for a no-arms, off the ball tackle.
Tuks' lead was back to seven points when de Beer slotted his fourth penalty in the 67th minute, to hand the home side a 28-21 lead.
Time was not on Maties' side as they launched a final attack in the closing minutes but it was not meant to be as Pretoria celebrated their third title.
Man of the match: Michal Haznar ran hard lines while Chris Smith's boot kept Maties in the contest. Devon Nash put in the hard yards but Kobus van Dyk was their best player of the game with his work-rate at the breakdowns. Tinus de Beer controlled matters brilliantly with his tactical kicking. However, he was only allowed to do that off the back of a dominant scrum and line-out. Therefore, we cannot give this award to an individual but instead have opted to hand it to the entire Tuks pack of forwards, who stamped their authority on the match from the opening scrum.
Tries: Massyn, Rossouw
Cons: de Beer 2
Pens: de Beer 4
Pens: Smith 3, Swanepoel
Yellow cards: Jaco Venter (Maties, 16 - tip tackle); Jaco Holtzhausen (UP-Tuks, 55 - no arms, off the ball tackle)
UP-Tuks: 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 Bryan Leitch, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Els Corniel, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Jaco Holtzhausen, 18 Marius Verwey, 19 Eduan Lubbe, 20 Theo Maree, 21 Toko Maebane, 22 Keanan van Wyk, 22 Franco van den Berg.
Maties: 15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Craig Barry (captain), 10 Chris Smith, 9 Brendon Nell, 8 Devon Nash, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Mitchell Carstens, 5 Jaco Venter, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Niel Oelofse, 2 Craig Corbett, 1 Wesley Adonis.
Replacements: 16 Hendrik Luus, 17 Ricky Ngwabara, 18 Wikus Groenewald, 19 Johan Momsen, 20 Stephan Streicher, 21 Remu Malan, 22 Theo Stapelberg, 23 Duncan Saal.
Referee: Jaco Pretorius
Assistant referees: Paul Mente, Lesego Legoete