FNB Maties claimed their maiden FNB Young Guns title after dethroning defending champions FNB Tuks, with Dan Jooste starring in their 45-37 victory.
The defending champions took control of the game in the early exchanges and were rewarded when winger Cameron Hufke crossed over the white chalk to give FNB Tuks an early lead after a successful conversion, 8-0.
FNB Tuks then made it 16-0 after a great team try in the 9th minute, followed by a successful conversion, with the Pretoria side threatening to run away with the contest.
FNB Maties fought back and earned a try of their own through Dan Jooste after a strong driving maul from the Cape side. Anton du Toit’s successful conversion took the score to 16-8 after the first 21 minutes.
Hufke blazed down the touchline as he picked up his brace and yet another successful conversion, propelling his team to a commanding 24-8 lead going into the halftime break.
Dan Jooste picked up his own brace immediately after the restart as FNB Maties’ forward pack looked strong on attack. Du Toit successfully converted to narrow the deficit to within 8 points, 24-16.
The second half’s electrifying start continued as Ben-Jason Dixon surged over the try-line in the 45th minute, the conversion was unfortunately missed this time, leaving the scores at 24-21.
Two minutes later, FNB Tuks Young Guns extended their lead through a great individual effort from Marnus Potgieter. The conversion was missed, with the Pretoria outfit leading 29-21.
Dan Jooste picked up his hat-trick in the 54th minute as the game was heating up. Du Toit’s conversion levelled matters at 29-29, with more tries threatening to come.
Hufke was not to be outdone as he also bagged his hat-trick in the 54th minute in this exhilarating back and forth contest. He successfully converted his own try to propel FNB Tuks to a 37-29 lead.
FNB Maties levelled matters yet again, this time through a great run from Henlo Marais. Du Toit’s conversion was successful, levelling the scores at 37-37 after 57 minutes.
After a quiet period, Jooste was on target again in the 76th minute as he drove over the line to snatch his 4th try of the match, Du Toit’s conversion saw the Cape side leading for the first time in this tie, 37-45.
That proved to be the final twist in this exciting match up as FNB Maties held on to claim a historic victory.
FNB Player That Rocks: Dan Jooste (FNB Maties)
FNB Maties Young Guns: 45
Tries: Dan Jooste (4) Henlo Marais, Ben-Jason Dixon
Cons: Du Toit (5)
FNB UP Tuks Young Guns: 37
Tries: Cameron Hufke (3), Marnus Potgieter, Stefan Smit
Cons: Cameron Hufke (4)
FNB TUKS YG: 15. Damian Bonaparte, 14. Sebastian Jobb, 13. Marnus Potgieter, 12. Wiaan Van Niekerk, 11. Cameron Hufke, 10. Ruben Beytell, 9. Romeo Eksteen, 8. Ewart Potgieter, 7. Stefan Smit, 6. Jaco Labuschagn, 5. Ruan Nortje, 4. Louis Meiring, 3. Kudzwai Dube, 2. Werner Fourie, 1. Etienne Jannecke.
Replacements: 16. Dylan Mare, 17. Dewald Maritz, 18. Carl Els, 19. Orateng Koikanyang, 20. Eduan Smit, 21. Ruan Schmulian, 22. Lorenzo Cloete, 23. James Combrink.
FNB Maties: 15. Nevaldo Fleurs, 14. Yazeed Karriem, 13. Anton Du Toit, 12. Henlo Marais, 11. Sebastian Prentice, 10. Aydon Topley, 9. Michael Visser, 8. Marcel Theunissen, 7. Rudolph Straeuli, 6. Jesse Johnson, 5. Ben-Jason Dixon, 4. Zirk Jansen, 3. Adam Neethling, Dan Jooste, 1. Reece Bezuidenhout.
Replacements: 16. Sean Swart, 17. Ronan Witten, 18. Gerrit Bester, 19. Albertus Libernberg, 20. Xhanti Nokoyo, 21. Wian Van Zyl, 22. Frederick Van Zyl, 23. Curtleigh Tobias.