Finally the UCT Tigers can call themselves Champions of the Varsity Cup after failing in two finals and one semi final over the past four years.
They came from behind to beat Tukkies 26-16 in one of the great finals of this tournament, giving me at least one correct prediction this season.
In a game of two half’s I almost heard the sound of “chokers” while I was watching Tuks hammering away at UCT in the first half. This after UCT went up seven points within the first minute of the game.
But that was about that for UCT where they struggled until the last minutes of the first half when Catrakilis kicked over a penalty to make it 16-10 to Tuks going into the break. Tuks looked like real winners at this stage and played the Bulls blue print to the tee in the first half.
As much as Tuks dominated UCT in the first half, UCT slowly started turning the tables in the second.
For the first time in three finals UCT did not let their opponents close the door on them especially in the last ten minutes keeping a relentless Tuks side off their goal line. Tuks came with wave after wave of attack but UCT’s defense stood firm.
Tuks were more effective at the breakdown where the hand of Heyneke Meyer could clearly be seen – both in terms of tactics and passion. This was compounded by the fact that UCT struggled with the high bombs that rained down on them from the Tukkies halfbacks.
Ikeys soon realised they had to change tactics and by keeping the ball in hand more, they robbed Tuks of momentum. In the end it was a deserved win by Ikeys that showed that they can grind it out to the final whistle as well as playing attractive rugby. Tuks will look back at silly mistakes in the second half as the major cause for their collapse but some dodgy decisions from the man in charge also made life difficult for both teams.
Demetri Catrakilis played the game of his life with his flair and boot and won himself the man of the match award.
It was a great win for a great team celebrated at the final whistle by the UCT faithful including all the people who did such hard work behind the scenes for the team. With sponsors and a winner’s cheque of R250 000 supporting UCT, we will hopefully see them upgrade the Green Mile and add some floodlights to further boost the Cape team.
Try: Du Plessis
Pens: Dunlop 3
Tries: Mallett, Page
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 4
* Earlier The FNB TUT Vikings snatched a dramatic 50-43 extra-time victory over FNB CUT in their Varsity Cup promotion/relegation play-off. The result will be celebrated for some time in Pretoria, as they retain two teams in the top flight of university rugby, after TUT wing Ruan van Loo got over in the final seconds of extra-time for his hat-trick – a try that sealed his side’s spot in the 2012 Varsity Cup.
* Meanwhile a well drilled Patria from Pukke won a one-sided Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships Final 21-0 against for Maties koshuis Simonsberg.
Some other rewards also came on the night.
*Maties captain Callie Visagie had been voted as 2011 Varsity Cup Player That Rocks
* Hugo Kloppers also from Maties won the Forward that Rocks
* Shimlas scrumhalf Enrico Acker won the Back that Rocks
“I said it a while ago – Callie Visagie has the potential and leadership qualities to play for the Springboks one day,” said Varsity Cup MD Duitser Bosman in wishing Visagie on his award.
“Well done, too, to Hugo and Enrico – it’s a great achievement by both.”
Like I said on Monday, congrats to the two UCT supporters I know here at Ruggaworld, Morne and JP, at least after four years of getting your ass kicked in the play off’s you won the Cup. Great win.