FNB CPUT came from behind to claim a 32-28 victory over FNB Madibaz and win their first ever FNB Varsity Shield at the Madibaz Stadium on Thursday.
FNB Madibaz dominated the first half with two early tries but the ever-resilient FNB CPUT put in an incredible attacking effort in second stanza to stay in the game. A 79th minute George-Lee Erasmus secured the men from Cape Town the win.
In a game where FNB CPUT were looking for revenge after losing 38-21 in the opening game of the season, they came from trailing the whole game to score in the last minute and upset the home side and break their winning streak.
It was a dream start for FNB Madibaz, when flanker Stephanus Nieuwoudt, crossed the line within the first two minutes, showing the intent from the forwards in this FNB Varsity Shield final.
The FNB Madibaz immediately took advantage of this, mauling over the FNB CPUT forwards to score again through Johan Van Wyk.
The away side looked to have the advantage and control the rest of the game, when they passed the ball down their backline, crossing the line, only to be brought back for being in front of the kicker. They did come back for an earlier offside from FNB Madibaz, to go for points, kicking to earn themselves three points and a chance to get onto the scoreboard.
This didn't slow down the dominating home side, crossing the line again from a maul and Nieuwoudt getting onto the scoresheet for his second try.
FNB CPUT did not give up, running at the home side with wave after wave of attack, forcing the mistakes and giving the FNB Madibaz their first decent challenge this season. The flare and confident running finally paid off. FNB CPUT broke the defence for only the second try conceded in the last three home matches for FNB Madibaz. Butsha Mputa crossing the line, getting the away side pumped up. FNB CPUT had 58 percent possession at this stage and FNB Madibaz had made 50 tackles to FNB CPUT's 24, showing that they were attacking the unbeaten side.
This dominance eventually ended before the end of the first half, FNB Madibaz having their own chance to run at FNB CPUT, with winger Yomelela Kwesa crossing the line to extend the lead to 22-10 going into half time.
FNB CPUT came out for the second half guns blazing, the backline showing their dominance and this paid off within the first five minutes, Colin April crossing the line for a try and Ralton October with a penalty to cut the lead to within four points for the away side.
An all-round amazing performance from FNB Player That Rocks and FNB Backline Player of the tournament, Randy Brinkhuis, led to an amazing try saving tackle, saving FNB CPUT from losing all their hard work. Although having the lead, the unbeaten FNB Madibaz needed to regroup to stop the side from Cape Town from breaking that record, discipline being the focus for improvement, with twelve penalties conceded before the second strategic break.
The dying moments of the game were nerve-wrecking for the home side and went downhill from there, FNB CPUT stepping up the game and the phases to put the pressure on FNB Madibaz before they crossed the line through the powerful Keadon Consul, cutting the gap to three points with five minutes to play. FNB Madibaz discipline continued to let them down, Bunganga Magwentshu getting a yellow card before FNB CPUT pulled off the best comeback of the FNB Varsity Shield season, crossing the line in the final minute for the Steers Kinging moment of the Match, for a try through George-Lee Erasmus to send the away fans into rapture at the full time whistle.
Ralton October of FNB CPUT also taking home the FNB Overall player of the Tournament award for all his hard work and amazing performances for FNB CPUT this season.
FNB Madibaz: 28
Tries: Stephanus Nieuwoudt (2), Johan Van Wyk, Yomelela Kwesa
Cons: Luvo Claassen
Pens: Tristan Fourie (2)
FNB CPUT: 32
Tries: Butsha Mputa, Colin April, Keadon Consul, George-Lee Erasmus
Cons: Ralton October (3)
Pens: Ralton October (2)
FNB Player that rocks: Randy Brinkhuis
Steers Kinging moment: George-Lee Erasmus
FNB Forward of the Tournament: Sphephelo Mabuza
FNB Backline Player of the Tournament: Randy Brinkhuis
FNB Overall Player of the Tournament: Ralton October
FNB Madibaz: 15 Tristan Fourie, 14 Josiah Twum-Boafo, 13 Riaan Esterhuizen, 12 Christopher Hollis, 11 Yomelela Keswa, 10 Luvo Claassen, 9 Dundre Maritz, 8 Bevan Prinsloo, 7 Laken Gray, 6 Stephanus Nieuwoudt, 5 Ikhetheleng Nkhereanye, 4 Robert Izaks, 3 Johan van Wyk, 2 Thembekile Boltina, 1 Tembelihle Yase
Replacements: 16 Ruan Jonker, 17 Keegan Branford, 18 Cameron Cato, 19 Dirk Ferreira, 20 Sibusiso Ngcokovane, 21 Jean-Pierre Greyling, 22 Njabulo Toni, 23 Bunganga Magwentshu
FNB CPUT: 15 Randy Brinkhuis, 14 Christopher Andrews, 13 Lunathi Nxele, 12 Julrick Lewis, 11 Asisipho Malotana, 10 Ralton October, 9 George-Lee Erasmus, 8 Colin April, 7 Anenceba Salman, 6 Butsha Mputa, 5 Bradley Aiden van Boven, 4 Ameer Hendricks, 3 Jeandri Coetzee, 2 Keadon Consul, 1 Thembalihle Njadu
Replacement: 16 Scarra Gqibithole, 17 Cecil Rittels, 18 Boris Hategekimana, 19 Xavier Myburgh, 20 Kevin Goddard, 21 Darren Alexander, 22 Deleo Kustoor, 23 Chadd Fortuin