FNB Maties won a hard-fought battle against FNB NWU, while there were also Round 5 FNB Varsity Cup victories for FNB Wits and FNB UJ at Tuks Stadium on Tuesday.
FNB UJ 34 (24) FNB UFS SHIMLAS 32 (0)
FNB UJ survived a second-half comeback by FNB UFS Shimlas to claim a second consecutive win in this year’s tournament, writes Dan Lombard.
FNB UJ were aggressive in attack from the onset, often fronting up in collision after collision, which appeared to leave Shimlas shell-shocked. However, FNB UFS took stock at half-time and reloaded to force themselves back into the match.
The Orange Army took control when inside centre Musawenkosi Tshabalala scored the opening try in the 12th minute before wing Prince Nkabinde rounded off phase play to dot down in the left-hand corner.
FNB UJ hooker Pierre Rabie had his forwards to thank as his brace via rolling mauls in the final minutes of the first half secured the bonus point, with flyhalf Jurich Claasens adding two conversions to bring up a commanding 24-0 lead at the break.
The second half proved to be a different story as FNB UFS eventually found their rhythm and scored three excellent tries, courtesy of No 8 Ruwald van der Merwe and a point-of-origin try each for hooker William Moffat and wing Jorell Arries. That allowed them to get within two points of the Orange Army just before the second strategy break.
Claasens pulled back a try for FNB UJ and added the conversion before replacement loose forward Thabo Ndaminde's converted try in the 70th minute made it a two-point game once again while handing his charges the bonus point for tries scored.
FNB UFS pushed hard for another score, but lost a late lineout which allowed FNB UJ to wind down the clock.
FNB Player That Rocks: Pierre Rabie (FNB UJ)
FNB UJ – Tries: Musawenkosi Tshabalala, Prince Nkabinde, Pierre Rabie (2), Jurich Claasens. Conversions: Claasens (3). Penalty: Claasens.
FNB UFS Shimlas – Tries: Ruwald van der Merwe, William Moffat (1x7), Jorell Arries (1x7), Thabo Ndaminde. Conversions: JP Duvenage (4).
FNB WITS 77 (42) FNB MADIBAZ 7 (7)
FNB Wits’ dominant scrum laid the platform for their biggest-ever FNB Varsity Cup win and their first of the 2021 campaign, writes Bronwen Bain.
Wits were awarded three penalty tries in the match – including two in the first quarter – from the set-piece.
Before the game, the teams shared a touching moment when they stood together in memory of former Madibaz manager Ntsikelelo 'Amigo' Ngcakana, who passed away last year.
FNB Wits drew first blood through centre Henco van Wyk, before FNB Madibaz flank Jaco van der Walt was yellow-carded. The Wits pack took full advantage, with two penalty tries making it 21-0 after 15 minutes.
Captain Constant Beckerling scored FNB Wits' bonus-point try, which was followed by centre Aidynn Cupido’s brilliant chip-and-chase point-of-origin try.
FNB Madibaz wing Njabulo Toni crossed the line on the stroke of half-time, but fullback Chadwyn November’s conversion would be the last points they scored.
FNB Wits came out firing in the second half, with replacement flank Mark Snyman scoring two superb tries in quick succession.
FNB Wits' third penalty try, with five minutes remaining, was followed by two point-of-origin tries from replacement flyhalf Christian Humphries and scrumhalf Hlumelo Ndudula that compounded the Madibaz’s misery.
FNB Player That Rocks: Damian Venter (FNB Wits)
FNB Wits – Tries: Henco van Wyk, penalty try (3), Travis Gordon, Constant Beckerling, Aidynn Cupido (1x7), Mark Snyman (2), Christian Humphries (1x7), Hlumelo Ndudula (1x7). Conversions: Kurt Webster (5).
FNB Madibaz – Tries: Njabulo Toni. Conversion: Chadwyn November.
FNB MATIES 26 (5) FNB NWU EAGLES 12 (6)
Defending FNB Varsity Cup champions FNB Maties slugged it out against FNB NWU in a scrappy affair, running in four tries, writes Dan Lombard.
Proceedings were largely stop-start as unforced errors ruled the day while indecisiveness spoilt many opportunities for both teams.
The Eagles opened the scoring in the 12th minute via the boot of flyhalf Keagan Fortune before the Maroon Machine's lock pairing linked up brilliantly to allow Albert Liebenberg to canter over the chalk.
The first-half contest, although brutal, did not offer much in terms of points and FNB Maties flyhalf Christopher Schreuder missed several attempts at goal. Collectively, the men from Stellenbosch failed to profit when the Eagles were reduced to 14 men with scrumhalf Riaan Genis spending 10 minutes in the naughty chair.
Fortune slotted a second penalty just after the first strategy break to hand the men from Potch a one-point lead that they protected until half-time.
It didn't take long for FNB Maties to retaliate when the match resumed as outside centre and captain David Brits was on hand to receive a pop pass from wing Munier Hartzenberg and touch down for a point-of-origin try.
The Eagles were dealt a blow during the act of Brits' try as wing Pienaar van Niekerk was handed a red card for taking Hartzenberg out in the air and spent 15 minutes with a one-man disadvantage.
The Maroon Machine continued pushing hard and received their just rewards a minute before the second strategy break as replacement utility back George Lourens sneakily scored a converted try off a lineout drive.
No 8 Ben-Jason Dixon then ran fast and hard at the defence to force himself over the line to score a scintillating point-of-origin try.
FNB Player that Rocks: Ben-Jason Dixon (FNB Maties)
FNB Maties – Tries: Albert Liebenberg, David Brits, George Lourens, Ben-Jason Dixon. Conversion: Christopher Schreuder.
FNB NWU Eagles – Penalties: Keagan Fortune (4).
The FNB Varsity Cup will continue on Friday with the following Round 6 fixtures:
- FNB CUT Ixias vs FNB Maties (14:00, Tuks B-Field, DStv Now channel 245)
- FNB UWC vs FNB UJ (15:00, Loftus Versfeld, SuperSport Rugby channel 211)
- FNB Madibaz vs FNB UFS Shimlas (16:00, Tuks B-Field, DStv Now channel 245)
- FNB UP-Tuks vs FNB UCT Ikeys (17:00, Loftus Versfeld, SuperSport Rugby channel 211)
- FNB NWU Eagles vs FNB Wits (19:00, Loftus Versfeld, SuperSport Rugby channel 211)
Photos: Christian Kotze/Catherine Kotze/Varsity Cup