Varsity Cup Grand final confirmed
VARSITY CUP WRAP: Maties and UP-Tuks won their respective semi-finals on Monday to advance to the Varsity Cup final.
Maties secured their spot after thrashing rivals the UCT Ikeys in Cape Town.
Reigning champions UP-Tuks showed their class when they downed log-leaders UFS Shimlas in Bloemfontein.
Determined defence prevailed against all-out attack when UP-Tuks beat UFS Shimlas 29-21 in Bloemfontein.
Fullback Stefan Coetzee kicked a penalty and then scored a try to give the visitors an 8-0 lead after seven minutes. UFS Shimlas hit back to score three tries before the break. UP-Tuks did well to punish the hosts’ mistakes, however, and to stay in touch on the scoreboard.
Captain Lincoln Daniels ran through the UFS Shimlas defence after half-time to reclaim the lead for his side. The visitors received another boost when Shimlas hooker Carl Wijburg was shown a yellow card for cynical play. The ambitious hosts persisted with their ball-in-hand tactics. The UP-Tuks defence was more than equal to the task, though, and managed to keep the much-vaunted attack scoreless in the second stanza.
When the visitors won a penalty in their own half in the 58th minute, Coetzee stepped up to slot the long-range goal. For the second time in the game, UP-Tuks enjoyed an eight-point lead over their more fancied opponents. Excellent game management in the closing stages ensured that UP-Tuks retained that lead, won the game, and marched on to yet another Varsity Cup final.
In the first semi-final in Cape Town, hooker Sean Swart scored a hat-trick as Maties hammered the UCT Ikeys 58-19.
Swart equalled CUT hooker Janus Venter’s record for the most tries in a Varsity Cup season (12) and was named the Player That Rocks.
That award could have gone to the entire Maties pack that dominated at scrum time or to flyhalf Nevaldo Fleurs, who was successful with eight of 10 goal kicks in windy conditions. The Ikey Tigers came into this semi-final as favourites, having beaten their arch-rivals 44-27 in the round seven clash at the Green Mile.
But their discipline let them down (they conceded 18 penalties), they lost the forward battle and they had just 38 percent of the possession. The hosts were reduced to 14 men after just 12 seconds of the match when inside centre Rethabile Louw took out a Maties player in the air from the kick-off.
And the visitors made their numerical advantage count with a fifth-minute point-of-origin try. Wing Anton du Toit burst down the left touchline, handed off Suleiman Hartzenberg and found scrumhalf Thomas Bursey, whose inside pass put captain Gift Dlamini away.
No sooner had the Ikey Tigers been restored to their full complement of players than captain Luthando Woji scored a try next to the posts that was initially ruled a knock-on by the referee. Fortunately for the hosts, the TMO intervened. But Maties regained the initiative when Swart scored from a lineout driving maul and fullback Sibabalwe Xamlashe dived over for a point-of-orgin try.
Fleurs slotted both conversions and a penalty to give the visitors a commanding 31-7 lead at half-time.
UCT No.8 Taariq Kruger paid the price for repeated infringements by his team when he was yellow-carded early in the second half. Almost inevitably, Maties kicked for the corner and Swart went over from the lineout driving maul. The Ikey Tigers scored while down to 14 men through flank Sipho Dyonase, before Swart completed his hat-trick.
Maties lost lock Juan Beukes to the sin bin, but that didn’t prevent them from scoring another two tries to complete the rout. The Maroon Machine will contest their 10th Varsity Cup final next Monday and be chasing a record-extending sixth title.
Semi-final results and scorers:
UCT Ikeys 12-53 Maties
For UCT Ikeys
Tries: Luthando Woji, Sipho Dyonase.
Con: Duran Koevort.
Tries: Gift Dlamini (seven-point try), Sean Swart 3, Sibabalwe Xamlashe (seven-point ty), Thomas Bursey, Anton du Toit.
Cons: Nevaldo Fleurs 5
Pens: Fleurs 3
Player That Rocks: Sean Swart (Maties)
UFS SHimlas 21- 29 UP Tuks
For UFS Shimlas
Tries: Janco van Heyningen (seven-point try), Thabang Mahlasi, Ruwald van der Merwe.
Cons: Litha Nkula 2
Tries: Stefan Coetzee, Bernard van der Linde, Lincoln Daniels.
Pens: Coetzee 4
Player That Rocks: Bernard van der Linde (UP-Tuks)