FNB UFH travelled to the nation's capital for a must-win clash against FNB TUT and duly did so, 19-13, to dent FNB TUT's slim playoff hopes while enhancing their own.
If TUT were planning on asserting themselves at home from the get-go on Friday night then the vistors had a surprise for them. Almost from the kick-off The Blues controlled possession and within no time moved the ball sufficiently through the hands to have TUT's defence grasping. Lukhanyiso Tosholwana dule took advantage, with the pint-sized flanker slipping through the grasp of the Vikings defenders to get near enough to line to stretch out and open the scoring. Keith Chiwara missed the conversion but UFH were up-and-running.
Soon enough TUT were on the scoreboard. The viisitors conceded a penalty midfield just within their half, and Nathan Nienaber lnined up an effort at posts. He showed the length of his boot to comfortably slotted it through the posts and the scoreboard read 3-5.
That early scoring was not mirrored through the next 20 minutes of the match as neither side controlled their possession effectively. UFH, though, were presented an opening when TUT's left winger Mfundo Gumede was sent to the Afkoelstoel for a high tackle in the 32nd minute. Three minutes later Yamkela Mzozoyana made him pay as the No. 8 found a hole in the hosts defence to score a second try. Chiwara made no mistake this time and UFH held firm until half-time for a 12-3 lead.
AS IT HAPPENED: Running commentary as UFH stayed out of TUT's reach
Not long in the second half, the hosts got their fans on their feet by reducng the defecit to four points courtesy of a captain's try by Wandile Shabalala. TUT, however, handed the initiative back to UFH not long after. Their scrumhalf Lwazi Madiba, who thought he had scored a short while earlier (before the ref called it back for an infringement), was not to be denied at the second time of trying. His five-pointer was converted by Kamvelihle Menze and UFH lead 19-8.
Agan there was a lull in scoring for some 20 minutes, much to the frustration of the Vikings who couldn't get their game together to challenge UFH for the win. They did cross the line thanks to swift work by Michael Jacobs but, with the uncoverted try coming in the final minute, it was too little too late and all the men in red could settle for was a losing bonus point. UFH meanwhile are now six log points better off than them (level with fifth-placed FNB UKZN), with two rounds of action remaining for both teams.
FNB Player That Rocks: Lukhanyiso Tosholwana (FNB UFH)
Steers Kinging Moment: Yamkela Mzozoyana (FNB UFH)
FNB TUT: 13 (3)
Tries: Wandile Shabalala, Michael Jacobs
Penalty: Nathan Nienaber
FNB UFH: 19 (12)
Tries: Lukhanyiso Tosholwana, Yamkela Mzozoyana, Lwazi Madiba
Conversions: Keith Chiwara 1, Kamvelihle Menze 1
FNB TUT: 1 Goabaona Mokone, 2 Laro Delport, 3 Jakobus Roos, 4 Handro Horn, 5 Anré O'Neill, 6 Rhudi Pretorius, 7 Kazadi Mukendi, 8 Mpho Kganakga (captain), 9 Michael Jacobs, 10 Lusanda Xakwana, 11 Mfundo Gumede, 12 Nhlalala Sithole, 13 Nathan Nienaber, 14 Musawenkosi Sili, 15 Wandile Shabalala.
Replacements: 16 Junior Kwinda, 17 Lawrence Nong, 18 Zandré Nieuwoudt, 19 Gerhardus van der Westhuizen, 20 Samuel Ntsoeleng, 21 Thando Khawula, 22 Nyakallo Masitha, 23 Melusi Ndwandwe.
Coach: Kaya Malotana
FNB UFH: 1 Mzingabantu Vitsha, 2 Mkhonto Caku-Caku, 3 Sibabalo Mnkani, 4 Mthandazo Gcubeni, 5 Liko Ndiyalwa, 6 Lukhanyiso Tosholwana, 7 CJ Osode (captain), 8 Yamkela Mzozoyana, 9 Lwazi Madiba, 10 Keith Chiwara, 11 Siseko Selman, 12 Yonela Baleni, 13 Mihlali Nobomvu, 14 Aphiwe Rilityana, 15 Kamvelihle Menze.
Replacements: 16 Wandile Mgqogqi, 17 Edwin Nxumalo, 18 Mbasa Sonkosi, 19 Samkelo Ntshulane, 20 Kamvelihle Fatyela, 21 Liyema Tyali, 22 Merlin du Plessis, 23 Lilitha Mdladlana.
Coach: Lumumba Currie