FNB Varsity Cup
FNB CUT claimed a thrilling 41-40 victory against FNB UP-Tuks at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday, while there were also Round 9 wins for FNB UCT, FNB NWU, FNB Wits and FNB Maties.
As a result, second-placed FNB Maties will meet third-placed FNB UP-Tuks in the first FNB Varsity Cup semi-final on Friday, 28 May (17:00), with the table-topping FNB UCT Ikeys taking on the winner of Tuesday’s rescheduled match between the FNB CUT Ixias and FNB NWU Eagles in Friday’s second semi-final (19:00).
FNB UCT IKEYS 34 (7) FNB MADIBAZ 23 (8)
FNB UCT secured top spot on the FNB Varsity Cup log with a bonus-point victory against the winless FNB Madibaz at the Tuks B-Field, writes Dan Lombard.
The Ikey Tigers made 12 changes to their starting lineup with an eye on their upcoming semi-final and it did disrupt their rhythm in the first half.
FNB UCT struck first in the 11th minute as hooker Josh van Vuuren barrelled his way over with inside centre Michael Brink converting. This proved to be their last points of the first stanza.
FNB Madibaz flyhalf Warrick Day slotted a penalty before replacement scrumhalf André Gerber darted away from a scrum to score the first try.
Outside centre Aya Oliphant ran in a delightful point-of-origin try to hand the men from the Eastern Cape a 15-7 lead early in the second half.
But FNB UCT then corrected the ship, with Brink bagging a brace before lock Matthew Grobler scored a point-of-origin bonus-point try.
Replacement flyhalf James Tedder and replacement utility back Kyle Bowman slotted penalties to extend the lead to 34-18 before FNB Madibaz replacement prop Jaco van der Walt crossed for a consolation try.
FNB Player That Rocks: Michael Brink (FNB UCT Ikeys)
FNB UCT Ikeys – Tries: Josh van Vuuren, Michael Brink (2), Matthew Grobler (1x7). Conversions: Brink (3). Penalties: James Tedder, Kyle Bowman. FNB Madibaz – Tries: André Gerber, Aya Oliphant (1x7), Jaco van der Walt. Penalty: Warrick Day. Drop goal: Schutte.
FNB UJ 29 (8) FNB NWU EAGLES 33 (23)
The FNB NWU Eagles survived a second-half fightback from FNB UJ to record a vital win at Loftus Versfeld, writes Bronwen Bain.
FNB NWU led 28-8 after 52 minutes before FNB UJ stormed back to lead 29-28 after 62 minutes. But two late yellow cards proved costly for the Orange Army as the Eagles scored the match-winning try against 13 men.
FNB UJ centre Indiphile Tyeda opened the scoring with an early penalty goal, before FNB NWU fullback Pienaar van Niekerk dotted down in the right corner.
The Eagles suffered a setback when they lost flyhalf Nivan Petersen to injury but winger Charl Pretorius lifted their spirits when he added his name to the scoresheet and captain Marco Donges added another conversion.
FNB UJ were reduced to 14 men when lock Tyler Brown was yellow-carded for a high tackle after which Eagles winger Sylvester Hassien scored the first point-of-origin try of the afternoon.
No sooner had FNB UJ returned to 15 men than FNB NWU replacement centre Bernu Engelbrecht was carded for a late tackle. FNB UJ wing Prince Nkabinde then powered over for a try to make it 23-8 at the break.
Van Niekerk got his second try 12 minutes into the second half to restore the Eagles’ 20-point lead, but Nkabinde turned the game on its head when he scored a sensational individual point-of-origin try.
That was followed shortly after by replacement flyhalf Jurich Claasens’ self-converted try, which put the Johannesburg outfit 29-28 ahead.
However, FNB UJ's discipline cost them when both captain Lunga Ncube and replacement prop Nkosikhona Masuku were yellow-carded for maul infringements.
FNB NWU hooker Gustav du Rand went over for his eighth try of the tournament a couple of minutes later for what proved to be the match-winner.
FNB Player That Rocks: Indiphile Tyeda (FNB UJ)
FNB NWU Eagles – Tries: Pienaar van Niekerk (2), Charl Pretorius, Sylvester Hassien, Gustav du Rand. Conversions: Nivan Petersen, Marco Donges (2). FNB UJ – Tries: Prince Nkabinde (1x5, 1x7), Indiphile Tyeda, Jurich Claasens. Conversion: Jurich Classens. Penalty: Indiphile Tyeda.
FNB WITS 40 (26) FNB UWC 10 (0)
FNB Wits ended FNB UWC’s semi-final hopes with a convincing win at the Tuks B-Field, writes Dan Lombard.
Udubs came into this match full of confidence after thrashing FNB CUT, but two matches in four days appeared to take its toll as FNB Wits claimed just their second win of the campaign.
FNB Wits settled after a choppy opening 10 minutes as flank Mark Snyman forced his way over the line to score a converted try. Yet it would be rough seas for several more minutes and only after Udubs lost fullback Gilroy Lee Philander to a yellow card that the men in royal blue would bother the scoreboard again.
The wait proved to be worth it as a cheeky kick from the base of the ruck by scrumhalf Hlumelo Ndudala was hunted down by replacement utility back Siyabonga Xulu. Flyhalf Keagan Lailvaux added the extras.
With immense intent and direction, FNB Wits made it difficult for Udubs to put together any meaningful phases of play and quickly discovered that their attack was more often than not being converted into defence by their opponents.
This was demonstrated when FNB Wits hooker Dameon Venter and No 8 Lindokuhle Ncusane scored tries, with Lailvaux converting the latter to rack a commanding 26-0 half-time lead.
Udubs finally got a reward for their efforts when flyhalf Ethan Diston slotted a penalty but this did little to dent the metal chassis of the Wits-mobile as fullback Setshaba Mokoena rounded off a sizzling point-of-origin try.
Yet another lull in play, with tempo set barely above undercooked, was finally broken as Ncusane floated over untouched to score.
Udubs did finish the match with a try when wing Lungi Msenge ran a deft line and replacement hooker Johan Lamprecht kicked the conversion.
FNB Player That Rocks: Mark Snyman (FNB Wits)
FNB Wits – Tries: Mark Snyman, Siyabonga Xulu, Dameon Venter, Lindokuhle Ncusane (2), Setshaba Mokoena (1×7). Conversions: Keagan Lailvaux (4). FNB UWC – Try: Lungi Msenge. Conversion: Johan Lamprecht. Penalty: Ethan Diston.
FNB UFS SHIMLAS 24 (5) FNB MATIES 81 (39)
FNB Maties thrashed FNB UFS Shimlas at Loftus Versfeld to set up a semi-final meeting with FNB UP-Tuks, writes Bronwein Bain.
The five-time champions, who outscored their opponents by 11 tries to four, appear to be hitting their straps at the right time of the tournament.
It took FNB Maties less than two minutes to cross Shimlas’ line when scrumhalf Lian du Toit scored a converted point-of-origin try.
FNB Shimlas flank Thabo Ndimande was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes, and FNB Maties scored 16 points in his absence through hooker JJ Kotze and winger Marcqiewn Titus to go 25-0 up. Kotze then finished off a great team effort to score his second try, this one a seven-pointer.
FNB UFS Shimlas finally got on the scoreboard through centre Danco Burger but FNB Maties replacement back Juan Mostert scored their fifth try on the stroke of half-time to make it 39-5.
The maroon machine started the second half in the same fashion as the first when lock Dylan de Leeuw scored a point-of-origin try, and flank Gift Dlamini then took them beyond the 50-point mark.
FNB UFS Shimlas did well to score three tries in the final 22 minutes of the match through replacement wing Shima Molepo, replacement scrumhalf Rewan Kruger and flyhalf JP Duvenage.
But FNB Maties finished strongly, scoring three tries in the last 10 minutes, with replacement hooker HJ Luus grabbing a brace and centre Waqar Solaan also dotting down.
FNB Player That Rocks: Lian du Toit (FNB Maties)
FNB Maties – Tries: Lian du Toit (2x7), JJ Kotze (1x5, 1x7), Marcqiewn Titus (1x7), Juan Mostert, Dylan de Leeuw (1x7), Gift Dlamini, HJ Luus (2), Waqar Solaan. Conversions: Christopher Schreuder (8). FNB UFS Shimlas – Tries: Danco Burger, Rewan Kruger, Shima Molepo (1x7), JP Duvenage. Conversion: Duvenage.
FNB UP-TUKS 40 (19) FNB CUT IXIAS 41 (27) FNB UP-Tuks centre Zandré Kruger missed an 83rd-minute conversion as FNB CUT claimed a one-point win at Loftus Versfeld to keep their semi-final hopes alive, writes Bronwen Bain.
Leading 41-33, FNB CUT looked set to run down the clock, only to concede a turnover with seconds remaining. FNB UP-Tuks then did brilliantly to take the ball through 15-plus phases before replacement back Tharquinn Manuel scored a point-of-origin try two minutes into stoppage time.
However, the conversion – from a relatively difficult angle considering the pressure situation – went wide, much to FNB CUT’s delight.
The Ixias will now face the FNB NWU Eagles on Tuesday in a rescheduled Round 7 match that will effectively be a quarter-final.
FNB CUT took an early 8-0 lead in this match when a penalty from flyhalf Charles Williams was followed by the first of four maul tries to hooker Janus Venter.
The Ixias forwards asserted their dominance once again when captain Luvoyo Ndevu scored and Williams' conversion made it 15-0.
FNB UP-Tuks got back into the game when centre Louritz van der Schyff powered over for a try, and hooker André van der Merwe added another to reduce the deficit to three.
FNB UP-Tuks captain Eduan Lubbe put his team back into the lead, only for Venter to complete his hat-trick. Fullback Cohen Jasper converted the hooker’s third to make it 27-19 at half-time.
Van der Merwe and flank Llewellyn Classen were both yellow-carded for cynical infringements late in the first half and they were still off the field when Jasper finished off a point-of-origin try for the Ixias early in the second.
Kruger’s converted try gave FNB UP-Tuks hope at 41-24 and when they were awarded a penalty try in the 71st minute, after Williams deliberately knocked the ball on, they were right back in the game.
Williams was yellow-carded and flank Ulrich Stander joined him in the sin bin in the 77th minute, but while 13-man FNB CUT did eventually concede a try, they were able to start celebrating when the conversion went wide.
FNB Player That Rocks: Xander Botha (FNB CUT) FNB UP-Tuks – Tries: Louritz van der Schyff, André van der Merwe, Eduan Lubbe, Zandré Kruger, penalty try, Tharquinn Manuel (1x7). Conversions: Jaylen James (3). FNB CUT Ixias – Tries: Janus Venter (4), Luvoyo Ndevu, Cohen Jasper (1x7). Conversions: Charles Williams, Jasper (2). Penalty: Williams.
The league stage of the FNB Varsity Cup will conclude on Tuesday, with two rescheduled Round 7 matches:
FNB UJ vs FNB Wits (14:00, Tuks B-Field, DStv Now channel 245)
FNB CUT Ixias vs FNB NWU Eagles (16:00, Tuks B-Field, DStv Now channel 245)
The FNB Varsity Cup semi-finals are scheduled to take place at Tuks Stadium on Friday, 28 May, followed by the final on Monday, 31 May.
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