MATCHDAY WRAP: Superb UWC stay in semi-final hunt; Ikeys remain unbeaten

FNB Varsity Cup

FNB UWC blew the FNB Varsity Cup semi-final race wide open with a 60-19 thrashing of FNB CUT, while there were also Round 8 wins for FNB UFS Shimlas, FNB Maties, FNB UP-Tuks and FNB UCT on Thursday.

FNB WITS 34 (19) FNB UFS SHIMLAS 42 (21)

FNB UFS Shimlas scored six tries in a hard-fought win against FNB Wits at the Tuks B-Field, writes Bronwen Bain.

Pote Human’s men came into this match with confidence after an impressive performance against FNB UP-Tuks on Monday, while FNB Wits were playing their first game in the third bio-bubble.

Flyhalf Keagan Lailvaux slotted an early penalty for FNB Wits, but it was FNB Shimlas who scored the first try through lock Uzile Tele in the 25th minute before eighthman Gustav Meyer was yellow-carded for cynical play.

FNB Wits reclaimed the lead when winger Lwazi Monkali scored a converted point-of-origin try to take them 12-7 up.

But it was FNB UFS Shimlas who went into half-time 21-19 ahead thanks to tries from prop Johan Schutte and flank Thabo Ndimande either side of winger Sthsaba Mqhatu’s effort for FNB Wits.

Ndabinde secured his brace early in the second half, before FNB Wits flank Mark Snyman powered his way over the tryline to make it a one-point game.

Flyhalf JP Duvenage's self-converted point-of-origin try put FNB UFS Shimlas ahead 37-27  with 10 minutes remaining.

FNB Wits got themselves back in the fight when hooker Dameon Venter mauled his way over the whitewash, but his opposite number William Moffat sealed the bonus-point win for FNB UFS Shimlas when he scored in the 77th minute.

FNB Player That Rocks: Kamo Chabana (FNB Shimlas)

FNB Wits – Tries: Lwazi Monakali (1x7), Sthsaba Mqhatu, Mark Snyman, Dameon Venter. Conversions: Keagan Lailvaux (3). Penalties: Lailvaux (2).
FNB UFS Shimlas – Tries: Uzile Tele, Johan Schutte, Thabo Ndabinde (2), JP Duvenage (1x7), William Moffat. Conversions: JP Duvenage (5).

FNB MATIES 49 (35) FNB UJ 14 (0)

FNB Maties fed off the ill-discipline of FNB UJ to run in seven tries at Tuks Stadium as the business end of the competition draws near, writes Dan Lombard.

The five log points keep the men from Stellenbosch in third place on the log.

The opening 10 minutes was akin to a wrestling match with neither side being able to convert possession into points while crashing into each other at a rate of knots.

It would take a moment of foul play to awaken the full might of the Maroon Machine as FNB UJ fullback Boldwin Hansen’s high tackle on wing Munier Hartzenberg resulted in a penalty try, the first in 2021 that also counted as a point-of-origin try. Hansen served 10 minutes in the bin.

FNB Maties needed little motivation to capitalise on the numerical advantage and secured their bonus-point try by the 21st minute as Hartzenberg crossed, before his fellow wing Siba Xamlashe touched down to cap off a well-earned point-of-origin try.

Prop Dian Bleuler was credited with wrapping up the bonus point and although flyhalf Adriaan van der Bank missed the extras, he did convert both tries by the wings to inflate the scoreline to 30-0.

A period of frustration followed for the five-time champions but they did strike just before half-time when hooker HJ Luus profited off a strong drive.

It was sparse pickings when the match resumed, though, as it took FNB Maties 16 minutes to extend their lead, with inside centre Taigh Schoor dotting down a converted try, before replacement hooker André-Hugo Venter was shown a yellow.

The Orange Army finally etched their name on the scoreboard as replacement prop Nkosikhona Masuku powered over like an angry elephant and flyhalf Jurich Claasens’ conversion reduced the lead to the half-time deficit.

However, FNB UJ then lost No 8 and captain Kwagga van Niekerk and flank Kelvin Kanekungo to yellow cards.  

Down to 13 men, one would expect FNB UJ to shore up on defence but they were able to score a converted point-of-origin try to replacement loose forward Franco Schutte.

FNB UJ’s ill-discipline continued when replacement prop Coenrad Very was red-carded for a swinging arm, before FNB Maties shut proceedings down with a try courtesy of Venter.

FNB Player That Rocks: Munier Hartzenberg (FNB Maties)

FNB Maties – Tries: Penalty try (1x9), Munier Hartzenberg, Siba Xamlashe (1x7), Dian Bleuler, HJ Luus, Taigh Schoor, André-Hugo Venter. Conversions: Adriaan van der Bank (2), Juan Mostert (2).
FNB UJ – Tries: Nkosikhona Masuku, Franco Schutte (1x7). Conversion: Jurich Claasens.

FNB MADIBAZ 0 FNB UP-TUKS 75 (44)

Captain Sango Xamlashe and fullback Zander du Plessis powered FNB UP-Tuks to an impressive win against a deflated FNB Madibaz side at the Tuks B-field, writes Bronwen Bain.

Hooker Llewellyn Classen also made his mark, coming off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick as FNB UP-Tuks finished with 11 tries.

The result sees the tournament hosts remain in second place on the log after Round 8.

FNB UP-Tuks drew first blood through winger Tharquinn Manuel, who dived over in the corner. Xamlashe then ran in the first point-of-origin try of the game, with Du Plessis adding a conversion and then scoring a try of his own.

Tuks’ rampage continued when prop Cebolenkosi Dlamini powered through the Madibaz defence, and Xamlashe and Du Plessis both earned their second tries to make it 44-0 at half-time.

Discipline cost both teams towards the end of the first half when prop Damien Swartz was yellow-carded for FNB UP-Tuks, followed shortly afterwards by his opposite number, Le-Kleu Stokes, for a no-arms tackle in the build-up to Du Plessis' second try.

Both FNB UP-Tuks hookers added to the try tally by bullying their way over the line to take their team past the 50-point mark.

The hosts then scored their third point-of-origin try through winger Tharquinn Manuel after a great individual effort from scrumhalf Clyde Lewis, before Classen crossed the line twice late in the game to complete his hat-trick.

FNB Player That Rocks: Clyde Lewis (FNB UP-Tuks)

FNB UP-Tuks – Tries: Tharquinn Manuel (1x5, 1x7), Sango Xamlashe (1x7, 1x5), Zander du Plessis (1x5, 1x7), Cebolenkosi Dlamini, Werner Fourie, Llewellyn Classen (3). Conversions: Zander du Plessis (7).

FNB UWC 60 (14) FNB CUT IXIAS 19 (19)

FNB UWC scored eight converted tries in a ruthless showing against FNB CUT at Tuks Stadium, writes Dan Lombard.

Udubs’ full house of points ensures a dramatic end to fill the fourth spot in the semi-final race especially considering they will be aiming to do the same against FNB Wits come Sunday. They are now just two log points behind FNB CUT, who have a game in hand.

An enthralling first stanza was packed with classy running lines and throwing caution to the wind as two of the FNB Varsity Cup's most exciting attacking teams collided.

First up was hooker Janus Venter for the Ixias, who barrelled his way over to score a converted try, before FNB UWC hit back with two tries, neatly sandwiched like a quality BLT, via hooker Jason Alexander and flank Tinotenda Mavesere.

Ixias wing Ricoman Titus rounded off the delicious analogy as his converted try levelled the scores, and his charges pulled in front when fullback and Cheetahs-bound Cohen Jasper dotted down in the 35th minute to ensure the half-time break was a positive one for the Bloemfontein outfit. 

The second half began with a sizzling point-of-origin try to FNB UWC that started with a change in possession before silky hands and snappy running was finished off by outside centre Aydon Topley. Scrumhalf Branden de Kock followed up with a converted five-pointer of his own two minutes later.

FNB UWC shifted into juggernaut after the second strategy break as Alexander collected his brace from close range and replacement lock Bronlee Mouries recorded try No 6.

The men from the Cape just would not let up on attack, scoring twice in the final five minutes. Replacement scrumhalf Conwill Conradie's clever back pass was returned to him as he ran in untouched and Topley then cashed in his brace as the sun set on a mesmerising display of rugby. 

FNB Player That Rocks: Jason Alexander (FNB UWC)

FNB UWC – Tries: Jason Alexander (2), Tinotenda Mavesere, Aydon Topley (1x7, 1x5), Branden de Kock (1x7), Bronlee Mouries, Conwill Conradie. Conversions: De Kock (6), Topley (2).
FNB CUT Ixias – Tries: Janus Venter, Ricoman Titus, Cohen Jasper. Conversions: Charles Williams (2).

FNB NWU EAGLES 36 (10) FNB UCT IKEYS 42 (22)

FNB UCT resisted a second-half surge by FNB NWU to lock up a vital victory at Tuks Stadium, writes Dan Lombard.

The five-point haul took the Ikey Tigers back to the top of the log after FNB UP-Tuks had briefly occupied the position earlier in the day, while the Eagles’ two bonus points see them finish Round 8 in fifth position, one point behind FNB CUT and one ahead of FNB UWC.

FNB NWU celebrated the life of 2018 captain Tiaan Bezuidenhout, who passed away in a tragic car accident earlier this month, by retiring the No 8 jersey for this match. Ruben Dreyer wore the No 24 jumper instead as a nod towards the life and times of a very special player to the NWU family.

The Ikey Tigers, undoubtedly the frontrunners to lift the trophy on 31 May, flexed their prowess as fullback James Tedder scored a converted point-of-origin try and slotted a penalty goal to rack up a healthy lead within the first 15 minutes. 

Wing Rethabile Louw followed suit with strong try before the Eagles opened their account through flank Jandré de Beer.

Tedder would land another penalty but FNB NWU prop Komape Moloto barged over to reduce the deficit to 22-10 at half-time.

The Ikeys Express took just four minutes to score when the match resumed with lock Connor Evans dotting down, before FNB NWU replacement prop Sampie Swiegers pulled back a try that was converted by flyhalf Nivan Petersen. 

Replacement lock Byron Bowes cantered over for a try for FNB UCT which Tedder naturally converted. He added a further two penalty goals, while De Beer swiped his brace quicker than a teenager at an arcade.

Bowes bowed out to a yellow card in the 68th minute to which FNB NWU duly cashed in as flank André Fouché dashed over the chalk and inside centre Marco Donges was deadeye on target with extras. 

Another yellow card against the Ikey Tigers, this time to replacement prop Jovan Bekker, paved the way for Eagles wing Sylvestor Hassien to score a vital stoppage-time try that wrapped up two bonus points, but was ultimately not enough for the win.

FNB Player That Rocks: Liam Greenhalgh (FNB UCT Ikeys)

FNB NWU Eagles – Tries: Jandré de Beer (2), Komape Moloto, Sampie Swiegers, André Fouché, Sylvestor Hassien. Conversions: Nivan Petersen, Marco Donges (2).
FNB UCT Ikeys – Tries: James Tedder (1x7), Rethabile Louw, Connor Evans, Byron Bowes. Conversions: Tedder (4). Penalties: Tedder (4).

2021 FNB Varsity Cup teams (Round 8)

The FNB Varsity Cup will continue on Sunday with five Round 9 matches (times and venues to be confirmed):

  • FNB UP-Tuks vs FNB CUT Ixias
  • FNB UFS Shimlas vs FNB Maties
  • FNB UJ vs FNB NWU Eagles
  • FNB UCT Ikeys vs FNB Madibaz
  • FNB Wits vs FNB UWC

The league stage of the tournament will conclude on Tuesday, with two rescheduled Round 7 matches. Both will be played on the Tuks B-Field and broadcast live on DStv Now, channel 245.

  • FNB UJ vs FNB Wits
  • FNB CUT Ixias vs FNB NWU Eagles

FNB Varsity Cup fixtures and logs

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Photos: Christian Kotze/Catherine Kotze/Varsity Cup