Varsity Cup semifinals confirmed
MONDAY WRAP: The Varsity Cup semifinal lineup has been confirmed.
UFS Shimlas is set to host UP-Tuks and the UCT Ikeys are pitted against rivals Maties at the Green Mile.
Shimlas thrashed the Madibaz on Monday to finish the league stage at the top of the Varsity Cup standings.
Meanwhile, the Ikey Tigers secured a home semifinal after downing the CUT Ixias.
Maties rebounded after a poor start to edge UWC and finish third on the log.
Paul Treu’s side and the Madibaz finished ninth and 10th respectively on the combined 2021-22 log and will be relegated to the Varsity Shield as a result.
UP-Tuks secured the fourth play-off berth after claiming a bonus-point win against UJ. While the NWU Eagles picked up five log points from their fixture against Wits, they finished one behind UP-Tuks in the final standings.
The first match of the day was fiercely contested by two desperate teams. UP-Tuks produced a more clinical display to secure a 36-19 bonus-point win against UJ. The defending champions adopted a pragmatic approach in the first half and took the points when they were on offer. By contrast, UJ turned down several kickable penalties in search of four tries and ultimately a valuable bonus point.
UJ harnessed the power of their scrum in the second stanza. After building some momentum through the phases, hooker Darnell Osuagwu crashed over for his second try of the match. The visitors finished strongly, though, to claim the four-try bonus point and a place in the semifinals.
The result of the match at the University of Johannesburg all but dashed the NWU Eagles’ hopes of qualifying for the playoffs. Andre Pretorius’ men beat Wits 31-3, but that performance and result was to no avail.
The hosts made good use of their massive pack in wet and challenging conditions. Captain Sampie Swiegers led the charge at the scrums, and with ball in hand – scoring two tries in the first half.
The Eagles continued to apply the pressure in the second stanza and finished the game with a tally of five tries. While they did enough to claim the bonus point and to win by a substantial margin, they fell agonisingly short of playoff qualification.
In Stellenbosch, UWC gave Maties a big fright before going down 40-31. Udubs made an impressive start to the match, with converted tries by flank Godfrey Muzanargwo and lock Jaen-Louis de Lange putting them 14-0 ahead after 13 minutes.
But Maties hit back with two maul tries from hooker Sean Swart, the leading try-scorer in this year’s tournament (nine). Centre Taigh Schoor and replacement Jurie Matthee then crossed the line to give the hosts a 26-14 half-time lead. However, UWC fought back brilliantly after the break, with scrumhalf Conwill Conradie scoring a seven-point try and centre Aydon Topley a five-pointer. A conversion and penalty from captain Lyle Hendricks then put them 31-28 up after 61 minutes.
But Maties responded with another two tries, the last from replacement hooker Chris Rossouw with four minutes remaining.
In Cape Town, the UCT Ikeys secured a home semifinal with a hard-fought 34-22 win against the CUT Ixias. The teams were locked at 5-5 at half-time, but the hosts dominated the second half to score another five tries. No 8 Taariq Kruger grabbed two from the back of the scrum, while replacement back Imad Khan struck twice within the space of three minutes in the final quarter.
CUT did well to dot down four times in the match, with captain Luvuyo Ndevu’s try in the last minute earning them a deserved bonus point.
In Gqeberha, UFS Shimlas secured top spot on the log with a 72-24 thrashing of the Madibaz. The Free State students scored 10 tries, of which four were seven-pointers. Right wing Zane Bester finished off two of them, while flyhalf George Lourens slotted seven conversions. The Madibaz scored four tries, but the final scoreline showed why they will be playing in the Varsity Shield next season.
Round Nine results and scorers:
UJ 19-36 UP-Tuks
Tries: Darnell Osuagwu 2, Nkosikhona Masuku
Cons: Jonathan Viljoen 2
Tries: Zander Reynders, Bernard van der Linde, Stephan Smit, Francois Klopper, Mihali Stamper
Cons: Stefan Coetzee 4
Player That Rocks: Bernard van der Linde (UP-Tuks)
NWU Eagles 31-3 Wits
For NWU Eagles
Tries: Sampie Swiegers 2, Theunis Pretorius, Tino Swanepoel (seven-point trfy), Pienaar van Niekerk
Cons: Martin Venter 2
Pen: Chris Humphries
Player That Rocks: Sampie Swiegers (NWU Eagles)
Maties 40-31 UWC
Tries: Sean Swart 2, Taigh Schoor, Jurie Matthee, Juan Beukes, Chris Rossouw
Cons: Nevaldo Fleurs 5
Tries: Godfrey Muzanargwo, Jaen-Louis de Lange, Conwill Conradie (seven-point try), Aydon Topley
Cons: Lyle Hendricks 3
Player That Rocks: Nevaldo Fleurs (Maties)
Madibaz 24-72 UFS Shimlas
Tries: Kyle Cyster, Arnouw Nel, Warwick Griffin, Brandt Fields
Cons: Jade Stoffels 2
For UFS Shimlas
Tries: Melusi Mthabela, Wihan Marais 2, Kwezi Dlamini (seven-point try), Zane Bester (two seven-point tries), Ruwald van der Merwe (seven-point try), Thabo Ndimande, Luthando Buthelezi, Hlomla Payi
Cons: George Lourens 7
Player That Rocks: Jooste Nel (UFS Shimlas)
UCT Ikeys 34-22 CUT Ixias
For UCT Ikeys
Tries: Taariq Kruger 2, Athi Gazi, Imad Khan 2, Suleiman Hartzenberg
Cons: Khan 2
For CUT Ixias
Tries: Jan Kotze, Matthew Sekele, Septimus Derkese, Luvuyo Ndevu
Con: Floris Brand
Player That Rocks: Sipho Dyonase (UCT Ikeys)
Semifinals (18 April):
* UCT Ikeys vs Maties (17.00, UCT Rugby Fields)
* UFS Shimlas vs UP-Tuks (19.15, Shimla Park)
Picture credit: C&C Photo Agency