The first round of this year of Varsity Cup and nothing has change with somewhat surprising results on the first night of the new season.
The FNB Varsity Cup Presented by Steinhoff International kicked off in Johannesburg, with a mouthwatering clash between FNB Wits and FNB UFS at rather wet Wits Rugby Stadium. FNB UFS lived up to their favourites tag, as they managed to stun FNB Wits 21-26, in a game that could have gone either way.
The game carried a lot of excitement around campus as students returned to back their boytjies.
The match got underway with the home side looking threatening with the backs running the ball well. A few handling errors unfortunately let both teams down as they looked to go forward with ball in hand. The first try did, however, fall to the home side, as FNB Wits Winger Kwanele Ngema picked up a ball from a scrum in the FNB UFS half and managed to beat a few defenders on his way to sliding over for a great try. The resulting conversion attempt from FNB Wits captain and flyhalf Warren Gilbert, was a great one as he added the extra two points to give FNB Wits an early 7-0 lead.
The Visitors then seemed to rise to the occasion themselves as they came charging back at the hosts. As a result of the visitors’ efforts, FNB UFS Winger Marco Mason dashed through the FNB Wits defence to dot down in the corner to cut the deficit to just two points after he failed to convert his own try. The rest of the half then saw the men from the Free State dominate as they added a further two unanswered tries from Dian Badenhorst and Niel Stannard with Mason only converting one try to leave the score at 7-19 to the visitors going into the break.
The second half started in a similar fashion as the first, with FNB Wits dotting down through big lock forward Graem Logan, who scored after Wits had been applying pressure on the FNB UFS line for a few moments. Gilbert then cut the difference to just five points with a great conversion to bring the score to 14-19. FNB UFS then lost 8th man Bernardus Erasmus, after he received a yellow card. This gave FNB Wits confidence, which led to the Witsies running in another converted try through hooker CJ Conradie. That would be the last bit of try line action from the home side, as the visitors had the last say in the match, with substitute forward Francois Steyn crossing over for FNB UFS and win the match 21-26.
FNB Player That Rocks: Phumzile Maqondwana (FNB Shimlas)
FNB Wits: 21
Tries: Kwanele Ngema, Graem Logan, CJ Conradie
Cons: Warren Gilbert (3)
FNB UFS: 26
Tries: Marco Mason, Dian Badenhorst, Niel Stannard, Francois Steyn
Cons: Marco Mason (2)
The FNB Madibaz outclassed the FNB Ikeys 8-36 at Florida Park in Ravensmead in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International on Monday. Former Dale College player Andile Jho scored a brace as FNB Madibaz outscored their opponents with five tries to one. The FNB Madibaz scored three unanswered first half tries on their way to securing their first win of the season.
A relentless onslaught from the visiting side saw them cross the whitewash five times while FNB Ikeys only managed eight points.
Lovu Claasen and Kevin Kaba got over for two five-pointers while left winger Jixie Molapo burnt the defence to dot down for a seven-pointer, which originated in the FNB Madibaz own half.
The visitors dominated the opening half, both scrums and lineouts bossed by the FNB Madibaz. Lock pairing of Wynand Grassman and Gerrit Huisamen gave problems to the FNB Ikey loose trio of captain Jason Klaasen, Luke Stringer and Nyasha Tarusenga.
The men from Port Elizabeth continued where they left off in the first half. After a brilliant passage of play from the home side, a turnover allowed the speeding Molapo to race in for a score under the upright.
After some constant pressure from FNB Ikeys it seemed like they would claw their way back into the match. The build-up to the Hablutzel’s try shifted the momentum in the favour of the home team. It was however short-lived as the FNB Madibaz resolve held firmly. Just before and immediately after the second half strategy break, the match seemed to reach a stalemate as no team managed to add any points to the 8-31 scoreline.
Speedster Jho sealed his brace minutes before the final whistle, as the FNB Madibaz claimed the Monty Taljaard trophy after a well-deserved 8-36 victory.
FNB Player That Rocks: Kevin Kaba (FNB Madibaz)
FNB UCT: 8
Tries: Cuan Hablutzel
Pens: Lohan Lube
FNB Madibaz: 36
Tries: Andile Jho (2), Jixie Molapo, Lovu Claassen, Kevin Kaba
Cons: Simon Bolze (3)
Pens: Simon Bolze
FNB UP-Tuks scored a late try to snatch a 13-9 (halftime 5-6) victory over FNB Maties in Round One of the tenth edition of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International at Loftus Versfeld.
The wet conditions proved to be a huge obstacle for both teams as they tried to keep their hands on the ball in front of a good turnout of supporters. FNB Maties were first to register points as flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg kicked a penalty in the 17th minute.
This galvanised FNB UP-Tuks into putting together a few good phases that culminated in no.8 Chris Massyn scoring off the back of a strong driving maul. Flyhalf Tinus de Beer could not add the extras.
The rain continued to bucket down but that did not stop the teams from playing expansive rugby while defending like men possessed as they tried to assert dominance over each other.
FNB Maties had the final say before halftime as Stapelberg landed another penalty to give the visitors a slender 5-6 lead at the break.
The second half proved to be much of the same as the rain settled into a light drizzle with much of the proceedings happening between the two 22s.
De Beer put FNB UP-Tuks in the lead for the first time with a 58th minute penalty but Stapelberg replied almost immediately with a penalty of his own. FNB Maties tried hard to break FNB UP-Tuks’ defensive line but the home side held strong leaving FNB Maties frustrated.
De Beer pulled the curtain down on the match as he burrowed his way over to cross the try line with minutes left on the clock.
FNB UP-Tuks have a bye in Round Two but return in Round Three of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International when they travel to Port Elizabeth to face FNB NMMU.
FNB Player that Rocks: Chris Massyn (FNB Tuks)
FNB UP-Tuks: 13
Tries: Chris Massyn, Tinus de Beer
Pen: Tinus de Beer
FNB Maties: 9
Pens: Ernst Stapelberg (3)
The opening game of the 2017 Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International saw FNB UJ narrowly lose to 2016 champions FNB NWU-Pukke in a 12- 16 loss at the Johannesburg Stadium.
The rain certainly did not damper the mood in the Johannesburg Stadium as the vibrant home partisan crowd was treated to a high-octane start from both sides. The teams were going at each other and it wasn’t until the 13th minute when FNB NWU-Pukke got on the scoresheet first with a penalty from Schalk Hugo. The champions started to grow in confidence as lovely interactive passing from the backline saw FNB UJ’s defense torn in half as winger Jimmy Mpailane jotted down for the first try of the game, 0-10 to FNB NWU-PUKKE after 20 minutes.
The home side got on the scoresheet themselves with a penalty from Divan Nel. The flyhalf did it again with another penalty from his own half to cut the lead to make it 6-10. He then made it a hat-trick of penalties to put FNB UJ within a point of the game. Divan Nel with the last kick of the half put FNB UJ in the lead with his fourth successive penalty of the half, giving the home side a slender advantage going into the second half.
FNB NWU-Pukke came out of the half quick and applied early pressure on FNB UJ. The home side was able to deal with the pressure and sustainable FNB NWU-Pukke. The away side eventually got their way through and took the lead through flyhalf Schalk Hugo to take the lead, 12-13 to the champions with 15 minutes remaining.
The pressure now was on FNB UJ as they looked to turn the game around. The crowd got behind their team in hope of sparking a likely victory. However NWU-Pukke put the game further away from FNB UJ, as flyhalf Schalk Higo scored his third penalty to make it 12-16. It was a tense finale to the game, but FNB NWU-Pukke were able to hold on and grabbed a 16-12 victory over FNB UJ.
FNB Player that Rocks: Wilmar Arnoldi (FNB Pukke)
FNB UJ: 12
Pens: Divan Nel (4)
FNB NWU-Pukke: 16
Tries: Jimmy Mpailane
Cons: Schalk Hugo
Pens: Schalk Hugo (3)
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