Varsity Cup: Gutsy UJ edge Jozi derby
ROUND FIVE WRAP: Prior to kick-off, UJ sat in a precarious position as the ninth-placed side on the combined 2021-22 Varsity Cup log.
As per tournament regulations, the teams that finish at ninth and 10th at the end of this season will be automatically relegated to the Varsity Shield.
The pressure was on UJ to deliver – and deliver they did against their Johannesburg rivals. The hosts bossed the scrums and the breakdowns – with co-captain Johannes Terblanche enjoying a big game on the ground. They converted several attacking chances in wet and challenging conditions and showed remarkable fortitude on defence.
Wits were competitive at the line-out, though, and managed to build some momentum in the second stanza. Fullback Setshaba Mokoena breached the hosts’ defence, and was also involved in the visitors’ second try, which was eventually finished by No.8 Phillip Krause. Chris Humphries converted to level the scores with 20 minutes left in the contest. A further try by Luhle Matyolweni propelled Wits into the lead. But UJ weren’t done yet. elvin Kanenungo rounded off a point-of-origin try, and then Shaun-Christian Baxter held his nerve to slot two important kicks to complete a big win.
The result sees UJ moving out of the relegation zone – for now. In the context of the current season, they remain in the hunt for a spot in the semifinals.
In Cape Town, reigning champs UP-Tuks scored seven tries in a resounding 51-19 win over UWC. Playing with a howling south-easter at their backs, Tuks had the better of possession and territory in the first half and converted most of their opportunities. Big men like prop Ethan Burger carried strongly to breach the UWC defence on a regular basis. The visitors scored four tries in only 28 minutes to secure the bonus point.
UWC were outplayed at the set pieces and at the collisions. While the wind influenced their performance in the first half, they were their own worst enemies with ball in hand and conceded far too many penalties. The hosts were more accurate in the second stanza, and managed to score three tries. Nevertheless, they failed to reduce the deficit sufficiently to claim any consolation bonus points.
In wet and cold conditions in Bloemfontein, Maties blew the CUT Ixias away with a brilliant first-half performance that saw them score six tries to lead 47-0 at the break. Hooker Sean Swart crossed the line twice and went on to win the Player That Rocks award. To their credit, the hosts showed far more fight in the second half, restricting their opponents to just one more try – wing Sibabalwe Xamlashe’s second – while scoring three themselves, including two from captain Luvuyo Ndevu. Maties had to play 15 minutes of the second half with 14 men after replacement prop James Combrinck was red-carded for the apparent use of a knee on a player.
Having begun their 2022 campaign with three impressive victories, the UFS Shimlas suffered a second consecutive defeat when they went down 32-22 to the NWU Eagles in Bloemfontein. Two penalties from flyhalf Nivan Petersen and two converted tries by outside centre Tino Swanepoel gave the visitors a commanding 20-0 lead after half an hour. The Free State students responded with two late first-half tries and another early in the second half that slashed the deficit to just three points. But they conceded a penalty try when collapsing an Eagles’ line-out driving maul in the 55th minute and then lost replacement prop Blaine Golden (red card) and flyhalf George Lourens (yellow card) in quick succession. NWU Eagles wing Naiden Jaarts’ 73rd-minute try put the result beyond doubt, although UFS Shimlas did score their fourth try in the final play of the game to earn a bonus point.
At the Green Mile, hooker Keagan Blanckenberg’s 75th-minute try from a lineout driving maul gave the UCT Ikeys a 33-26 win against the Madibaz. The visitors had raced into a 16-0 lead after nine minutes thanks to converted tries from fullback Kyle Cyster (point-of-origin) and No 8 Siyamthanda Jwacu. But the Ikey Tigers hit back with two tries of their own, which saw them trailing 19-14 at half-time, and then scored a third at the end of the third quarter to take the lead. The Madibaz’s third try made it 26-26 with 10 minutes remaining, but it was UCT who finished the game strongly to secure a hard-fought bonus-point win.
Varsity Cup Round Five results and scorers:
UJ 29-24 Wits
Tries: Darnell Osuagwu, Likhaya Tengimfene (1×7), Kelvin Kanenungo (1×7)
Cons: Shaun-Christian Baxter 2
Pens: Baxter 2
Tries: Setshaba Mokoena, Phillip Krause, Luhle Matyolweni
Cons: Chris Humphries 3
Players That Rocks: Shaun-Christian Baxter & Mpho Kubheka (UJ)
UWC 19-51 UP-Tuks
Tries: Aydon Topley, Justin Theys, Shaine Orderson
Cons: Lyle Hendricks 2
Tries: Ethan Burger 2, Bernard van der Linde (1×5, 1×7), Allister Williams, Orateng Koikanyang, Divan Venter
Cons: Clyde Lewis 7
Player That Rocks: Tiaan de Klerk (UP-Tuks)
CUT Ixias 19–52 Maties
For CUT Ixias:
Tries: Septimus Derkesen, Luvuyo Ndevu 2
Cons: Zinedene Booysen 2
Tries: Brendan Venter (1×7), Sean Swart (2), Marcqiewn Titus (1×7), Sibabalwe Xamlashe (2), Nevaldo Fleurs (1×7)
Cons: Nevaldo Fleurs 4
Player That Rocks: Sean Swart (Maties)
UFS Shimlas 22-32 NWU Eagles
For UFS Shimlas
Tries: Jooste Nel 2, Litha Nkula, Lourens Oosthuizen
Con: Litha Nkula
For NWU Eagles:
Tries: Tino Swanepoel 2, penalty try, Naiden Jaarts
Cons: Nivan Petersen 2
Pens: Petersen 2
Player That Rocks: Riaan Genis (NWU Eagles)
UCT Ikeys 33-26 Madibaz
For UCT Ikeys:
Tries: Kyle Bowman, Ruben Labuschagne, Keagan Glade, Mika Schubert, Keagan Blanckenberg
Cons: Duran Koevort 4
For Madibaz: Tries: Kyle Cyster (1×7), Siyamthanda Jwacu, Leon van der Merwe
Cons: Sibalomzi Mqeni 3
Player That Rocks: Taariq Kruger (UCT Ikeys)
Photo credit: ASEM Engage/C&C Photo Agency