FNB Wits last-minute heroics gets season off to winning start

FNB Varsity Cup

FNB Wits scored two late tries to claim a vital 30-26 away win against FNB UCT in Cape Town in the first round of the FNB Varsity Cup on Monday evening.

FNB UCT brandished some early physicality which seemed to bewilder the visitors with FNB Ikeys looking ripe to score before a strong defensive effort from FNB Wits. The Visitors turned the ball over and sent it wide to their speedster Kasande Kapepula who ran from his own half to score in the corner and claim a seven-point try. FNB Wits flyhalf Christian Humphries converted, making the score 9-0 to the men from Jozi.

FNB Wits kept the home side under sustained pressure and looked as though they were going to score again but the Cape Town boys were able to steal the ball after some nuggety work from the loose forwards, swing the ball wide to FNB UCT number 10 Gresham Hock who cleared for touch.

FNB UCT used their forwards to drive up the field and won a penalty at the breakdown. They used the opportunity to kick for touch. After an expertly taken line-out and strong drive, number eight Nyasha Tarusenga scored next to the touchline.

FNB Wits went into the first strategy break 9-7 points up with home side on their heels.

FNB Wits looked to consolidate their lead just before the halftime whistle after a strong drive from their forwards on the FNB UCT line but was thwarted by another a resolute effort from FNB UCT defence.

FNB UCT turned the tides on their opposition and after winning another penalty, it was déjà vu as they pushed towards the line, but as the home side crossed the line, they were held up by FNB Wits. After another scrum FNB Wits were penalised at the scrum on the five-line and FNB UCT were awarded a penalty try, going into the break 14-9 up.

FNB Wits claimed back the lead after a strong forward drive that saw Captain Fantastic Constant Beckerling crash over for a five-point try with Humphries converting, making the score 16-14 to the visitors.

FNB UCT called the Power Play and were unable to score. But used the momentum to dot down just after with the full-back Martin crossing over which left the score before the second strategy break at 23-16.

FNB UCT put the final nail in FNB Wits’ coffin after the home side were awarded a penalty just outside the FNB Wits 22 metre with Martin continuing his good form with the radar and got his side the three-pointer.

FNB Wits weren’t dead yet though and set up a forward drive five metres from the FNB UCT line. After some ferocious running from the Jo’burgers replacement prop Chris Hume barged over with Humphries adding the extras.

FNB Wits were clearly revitalised by their score. FNB UCT kicked down the throat of the wily winger Kapepula, who showed some fancy footwork once again before giving it inside to AJ van Blerk who dove over making the score 30-26.

The home side put in a strong performance in their first fixture but were unable to thwart a spirited and cohesive FNB Wits side with Kapepula picking up Man of the Match.

FNB Player That Rocks: Kasande Kapepula (FNB Wits)


Tries: Nyasha Tarusenga, penalty try, Brian Martin
Cons: Brian Martin 2
Pens: Brian Martin

FNB Wits: 30 
: Kasande Kapepula, Constant Beckerling, Chris Hume, AJ van Blerk
Cons: Christian Humphries 2

15) Brian Martin, 14) Rayno Mapoe, 13) Khanyo Ngcukana, 12) Joel Smith, 11) Sebastian Roodt, 10) Gresham Hock, 9) Stefano de Gouveia, 8) Nyasha Tarusenga, 7) Josh Moon, 6) Liam Greenhalgh, 5) Duncan Saffy, 4) David Meihuizen, 3) Simon Raw, 2) Hablutzel Cuan, 1) Quinton Losper
Substitutes:16) Josh Van Vuuren, 17) Ashwyn Adams, 18) Stanley Modjadji, 19) Gary Porter, 20) Kwezi Puza, 21) Eduard Schoonraad , 22) Lohan Lubbe, 23) Suwilanji Chibale

FNB Wits XV: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Peabo Ngema, 13 Gregory Champion ,12 AJ van Blerk, 11 Kasande Kapepula, 10 Christian Humphries, 9 Ruan Cloete, 8  Ayabulela Mdudi, 7 Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt, 6 Constant Beckerling, 5 Ludwig Snyman, 4 Dawid Bodenstein, 3 Jacobus Greeff, 2 John Conradie, 1 Ameer Williams
Substitutes: 16 Carl Brandon, 17 Peter Hume, 18 Sipho Siboza, 19 Lwazi Monakali, 20 Jethro de Lange, 21 Morne van der Berg, 22 Manqoba Mbatha, 23 Siliwe Luyolo