The FNB Maties claimed a second successive FNB Varsity Cup title as their late charge overwhelmed the FNB UP-Tuks 34-12 at the Danie Craven on Monday night.
Much like a heavyweight boxing match these two teams utilised their big guns to try and pummel their opponents into submission, with little room for much flair. Flanker Johann van Niekerk, who was the FNB Player That Rocks in last year’s final, went over for the first score of the game before both teams had even settled down.
The rest of the half saw more of the same in terms of physicality but Munier Harzenberg managed to grab a try among the corporeal exchanges. Flyhalf Jordan Chait added the extras and at 12-0 the FNB Maties had a handy lead going into the break.
After the break it was more of the same for Van Niekerk as he went over for a seven-point try and suddenly the FNB Maties looked comfortable at 21-0. This comfort was short lived as FNB UP-Tuks winger Dewald Naude went over in the corner, before doing the same a few minutes later in the other corner. This two try burst, combined with a conversion by flyhalf Tinus de Beer, saw the visitors narrow the gap to 21-12.
A huge moment in the final took place shortly thereafter as FNB UP-Tuks fullback Vaughen Isaacs was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on FNB Maties scrumhalf Brendon Nell. The men in maroon made the numerical advantage count first courtesy of the boot of Chait before Harzenberg scored a superb try to clinch the title for the FNB Maties and secure him the Steers Kinging Moment award. Chait kicked the conversion and a penalty shortly thereafter, putting the final nail in the FNB UP-Tuks coffin.
The game saw the final appearance of stand-in captain Chris Massyn and he closed the book with a second FNB Varsity Cup title and the award as FNB Player That Rocks.
With title number five back in the trophy cabinet the FNB Maties will celebrate late into the night, but know this is only the start of a dynasty for the men in maroon.
FNB Player That Rocks: Chris Massyn (Maties)
Steers Kinging Moment: Munier Harzenberg (Maties)
FNB Maties: 34
Tries: Johann van Niekerk (1x5, 1x7), Munier Harzenberg (2)
Conversions: Jordan Chait (3)
Penalties: Jordan Chait (2)
FNB UP-Tuks: 12
Tries: Dewald Naude (2)
Conversions: Tinus de Beer
FNB Maties: 15 Reinhardt Fortuin, 14 Munier Harzenberg, 13 David Brits, 12 Chris Smit , 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Chait , 9 Remu Malan, 8 Stephan Streicher, 7 Chris Massyn (Captain),6 Johann van Niekerk, 5 Ben-Jason Dixon, 4 Bernard Jansen, 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Daniel Jooste, 1 Wayrin Losper.
Replacements: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Piet-Louw Strauss, 19 Jesse Johnson, 20 Mitchell Carstens, 21 Brendon Nell, 22 Anton Du Toit, 23 Carlisle Nel.
FNB UP-Tuks: 15. Vaughen Isaacs, 14. Dewald Naude, 13. Lourens Pretorius, 12. Erich Cronje, 11. Irvin Ali, 10. Tinus de Beer, 9. Theo Maree, 8. Denzel Hill, 7. Hanru Sirgel, 6. Stephan Smit, 5. Ruan Nortje, 4. Marius Verwey (c), 3. JP Smith, 2. Johan Grobbelaar, 1. Etienne Janeke.
Replacements: 16. Werner Fourie, 17. Jacobus Eloff, 18. Bart le Roux, 19. Brian Leitch, 20. Raegan Oranje, 21. Damian Bonaparte, 22. Xolisa Guma, 23. Ewart Potgieter