FNB Varsity Cup
The FNB Varsity Cup semi-final lineup has been confirmed with FNB UFS Shimlas set to host FNB UP-Tuks and the FNB UCT Ikeys pitted against rivals FNB Maties.
Shimlas thrashed the FNB Madibaz on Monday to finish the league stage at the top of the FNB Varsity Cup standings. Meanwhile, the Ikey Tigers secured a home semi-final after downing the FNB CUT Ixias.
FNB Maties rebounded after a poor start to edge FNB UWC and finish third on the log.
Paul Treu’s side and the FNB Madibaz finished ninth and 10th respectively on the combined 2021-22 log and will be relegated to the FNB Varsity Shield as a result.
FNB UP-Tuks secured the fourth playoff berth after claiming a bonus-point win against FNB UJ.
While the FNB NWU Eagles picked up five log points from their fixture against FNB Wits, they finished one behind FNB UP-Tuks in the final standings.
The first match of the day was fiercely contested by two desperate teams. FNB UP-Tuks produced a more clinical display to secure a 36-19 bonus-point win against FNB UJ.
The defending champions adopted a pragmatic approach in the first half and took the points when they were on offer.
By contrast, FNB UJ turned down several kickable penalties in search of four tries and ultimately a valuable bonus point.
FNB UJ harnessed the power of their scrum in the second stanza. After building some momentum through the phases, hooker Darnell Osuagwu crashed over for his second try of the match.
The visitors finished strongly, though, to claim the four-try bonus point and a place in the semi-finals.
The result of the match at the University of Johannesburg all but dashed the FNB NWU Eagles’ hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.
Andre Pretorius’ men beat FNB Wits 31-3, but that performance and result were to no avail.
The hosts made good use of their massive pack in wet and challenging conditions. Captain Sampie Swiegers led the charge at the scrums, and with ball in hand – scoring two tries in the first half.
The Eagles continued to apply the pressure in the second stanza and finished the game with a tally of five tries.
While they did enough to claim the bonus point and to win by a substantial margin, they fell agonisingly short of playoff qualification.
In Stellenbosch, FNB UWC gave FNB Maties a big fright before going down 40-31.
Udubs made an impressive start to the match, with converted tries by flank Godfrey Muzanargwo and lock Jaen-Louis de Lange putting them 14-0 ahead after 13 minutes.
But FNB Maties hit back with two maul tries from hooker Sean Swart, the leading try-scorer in this year’s tournament (nine).
Centre Taigh Schoor and replacement Jurie Matthee then crossed the line to give the hosts a 26-14 half-time lead.
However, FNB UWC fought back brilliantly after the break, with scrumhalf Conwill Conradie scoring a seven-point try and centre Aydon Topley a five-pointer.
A conversion and penalty from captain Lyle Hendricks then put them 31-28 up after 61 minutes.
But FNB Maties responded with another two tries, the last from replacement hooker Chris Rossouw with four minutes remaining.
In Cape Town, the FNB UCT Ikeys secured a home semi-final with a hard-fought 34-24 win against the FNB CUT Ixias.
The teams were locked at 5-5 at half-time, but the hosts dominated the second half to score another five tries.
No 8 Taariq Kruger grabbed two from the back of the scrum, while replacement back Imad Khan struck twice within the space of three minutes in the final quarter.
FNB CUT did well to dot down four times in the match, with captain Luvuyo Ndevu’s try in the last minute earning them a deserved bonus point.
In Gqeberha, FNB UFS Shimlas secured top spot on the log with a 72-24 thrashing of the FNB Madibaz.
The Free State students scored 10 tries, of which four were seven-pointers.
Right wing Zane Bester finished off two of them, while flyhalf George Lourens slotted seven conversions.
The FNB Madibaz scored four tries, but the final scoreline showed why they will be playing in the FNB Varsity Shield next season.
Varsity Cup Round 9 results and scorers:
FNB UJ 19 (7) – Tries: Darnell Osuagwu (2), Nkosikhona Masuku. Conversions: Jonathan Viljoen (2). FNB UP-Tuks 36 (15) – Tries: Zander Reynders, Bernard van der Linde, Stephan Smit, Francois Klopper, Mihali Stamper. Conversions: Stefan Coetzee (4). Penalty: Coetzee. FNB Player That Rocks: Bernard van der Linde (FNB UP-Tuks)
FNB NWU Eagles 31 (19) – Tries: Sampie Swiegers (2), Theunis Pretorius, Tino Swanepoel (1x7), Pienaar van Niekerk. Conversions: Martin Venter (2). FNB Wits 3 (3) – Penalty: Chris Humphries. FNB Player That Rocks: Sampie Swiegers (FNB NWU Eagles)
FNB Maties 40 (26) – Tries: Sean Swart (2), Taigh Schoor, Jurie Matthee, Juan Beukes, Chris Rossouw. Conversions: Nevaldo Fleurs (5). FNB UWC 31 (14) – Tries: Godfrey Muzanargwo, Jaen-Louis de Lange, Conwill Conradie (1x7), Aydon Topley. Conversions: Lyle Hendricks (3). Penalty: Hendricks. FNB Player That Rocks: Nevaldo Fleurs (FNB Maties)
FNB Madibaz 24 (5) – Tries: Kyle Cyster, Arnouw Nel, Warwick Griffin, Brandt Fields. Conversions: Jade Stoffels (2). FNB UFS Shimlas 72 (42) – Tries: Melusi Mthabela, Wihan Marais (2), Kwezi Dlamini (1x7), Zane Bester (2x7), Ruwald van der Merwe (1x7), Thabo Ndimande, Luthando Buthelezi, Luyanda Mkhize. Conversions: George Lourens (7). FNB Player That Rocks: Jooste Nel (FNB UFS Shimlas)
FNB UCT Ikeys 34 (5) – Tries: Taariq Kruger (2), Athi Gazi, Imad Khan (2), Suleiman Hartzenberg. Conversions: Khan (2). FNB CUT Ixias 24 (5) – Tries: Jan Kotze, Matthew Sekele, Septimus Derkese (1x7), Luvuyo Ndevu. Conversion: Floris Brand. FNB Player That Rocks: Sipho Dyonase (FNB UCT Ikeys)
FNB Varsity Cup semi-finals (18 April):
FNB UCT Ikeys vs FNB Maties (16:30, UCT Rugby Fields, SuperSport channel 211)
FNB UFS Shimlas vs FNB UP-Tuks (19:00, Shimla Park, SuperSport channel 211)
Photo: Christiaan Kotze/Luigi Bennett/Zaahid Appoles/Ian Fairley/Varsity Cup