Maties edge NWU, as Wits ease relegation worries
VARSITY CUP WRAP: Maties rebounded from a poor start to beat the NWU Eagles 20-12 in Round Six in Stellenbosch on Monday.
The contest was an arm-wrestle for much of the first quarter.
Eagles captain Sampie Swiegers converted an early opportunity before the hosts responded with a converted try of their own through hooker Sean Swart. In the 25th minute, outside centre Waqar Solaan seized the initiative for his side when he broke the line and set up fullback Nevaldo Fleurs for a stunning try.
Fleurs slotted the conversion and then two subsequent penalties.
Suddenly, Maties were out to a commanding 20-7 lead. NWU’s attack was hampered by a series of handling errors over the course of the game. Their line-out misfired and their discipline let them down at key moments. Their scrum, however, kept them in the contest.
After earning some reward from this set-piece, and after addressing their line-out and mauling woes, they scored another try through Swiegers in the 61st minute. Replacement flyhalf Martin Venter missed the ensuing conversion and a late penalty attempt. As a result, the Eagles failed to claim so much as a losing bonus point from the fixture.
NWU will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs from here.
Maties, however, remain in the hunt for a home semifinal.
* Earlier Wits romped to a 51-12 bonus-point win against UWC in Johannesburg to move out of the relegation zone.
Several teams face a fight for survival in the latter stages of this year’s competition.
At the end of the current season, the two lowest ranked sides on the combined 2021-22 log will be relegated to the Varsity Shield.
Wits will breathe easier after securing a crucial result at Wits Rugby Stadium on Monday.
Meanwhile, the pressure will mount on UWC, who remain in the relegation zone.
Wits absorbed a lot of early pressure and then struck from the turnover ball. Two point-of-origin tries and two successful conversions boosted the hosts into a commanding 18-0 lead after 20 minutes. Scrumhalf Hlumelo Ndudula scored a second try thereafter, while halfback partner Chris Humphries secured the team’s four-try bonus point on the stroke of half-time. The tempo of the Wits attack wreaked havoc upon the visitors’ defence. The hosts maintained their intensity after the break to surpass the half-century mark. Humphries finished the contest with a haul of 20 points.
* In Port Elizabeth, UJ recorded a well-deserved 24-9 win against the Madibaz.
Two early converted tries by hooker Darnell Osuagwu gave the visitors a 14-0 lead, which is how it stayed until the start of the third quarter when flyhalf Jonathan Viljoen kicked a penalty goal. Replacement flank Philip Apea-Adu scored the Orange Army’s third try in the 64th minute but they were unable to get another for the bonus point.
Instead, it was fullback Kyle Cyster who got the Madibaz on the board with a consolation point-of-origin try.
* In Pretoria, No 8 Divan Venter scored two of UP-Tuks’ nine tries as they thrashed the winless CUT Ixias 61-12.
The match between UFS Shimlas and the UCT Ikeys was postponed due to lightning and will be played on Tuesday, March 22.
Round Six scores and scorers:
Wits 51-12 UWC
Tries: Hlumelo Ndudula (one seven-point try and one five-point try), Luhle Matyolweni (two seven-point tries), Chris Humphries, Wian de Lange
Cons: Humphries 6
Try: Romuald Ntumba (seven-point try)
Con: Lyle Hendricks
Player That Rocks: Azi Afrika (Wits)
Maties 20-12 NWU Eagles
Tries: Sean Swart, Nevaldo Fleurs
Cons: Fleurs 2
Pens: Fleurs 2
For NWU Eagles
Tries: Sampie Swiegers 2
Con: Nivan Petersen
Player That Rocks: Juan Beukes (Maties)
UP-Tuks 61-12 CUT Ixias
Tries: Ethan Burger, Divan Venter (one five-point try and one seven-point try), Kabelo Mokoena, Stephen Smit, Tharquinn Manuel (seven-point try), Werner Fourie, Orateng Koikanyang, Mihlali Stamper (seven-point try)
Cons: Clyde Lewis 2, Walter Visser 3
For CUT Ixias
Tries: Jan Kotze, Matthew Sekele
Con: Zinedene Booysen
Player That Rocks: Kabelo Mokoena (UP-Tuks)
Madibaz 9-24 UJ
Try: Kyle Cyster (seven-point try)
Con: Siphosethu Dlongodlongo
Tries: Darnell Osuagwu 2, Philip Apea-Adu
Con: Jonathan Viljoen 3
Player That Rocks: Mpho Kubheka (UJ)
Varsity Cup Round Seven fixtures (March 28):
* UWC vs CUT (17:00, UWC Stadium, SuperSport channel 211)
* UCT Ikeys vs Maties (19:00, UCT Rugby Fields, SuperSport channel 211)
* UP-Tuks vs Wits (19:00, Tuks Stadium, SuperSport Schools App)
* NWU Eagles vs Madibaz (19:00, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, SuperSport Schools App)
* UJ vs UFS Shimlas (19:00, UJ Stadium, SuperSport Schools App)
— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) March 21, 2022