It was a revealing weekend for the majority of FNB Varsity Cup teams who took on Super Rugby opponents in pre-season warm-up fixtures.
All of FNB NWU, FNB UP-Tuks, two-time defending champions FNB Maties, FNB UCT Ikeys and 2019 Varsity Shield champions FNB CPUT were in action. NWU faced The Sharks in Durban on Friday, UP-Tuks hosted their ‘big brothers’ The Bulls in two clashes on Saturday at the same time that The Stormers were being tested by three Cape universities in ‘Varsity Day’.
NWU GET THE ‘W’
NWU, who finished third in Varsity Cup 2019 before losing to UP-Tuks in the semi-finals, travelled to Durban on Friday to face a Sharks XV invitational team comprising club players, junior players and some recent schoolboys.
The hosts started the better of the two teams to hold a 19-5 lead at half-time. However, in the second half, André Pretorius’s charges found their groove to eventually emerge victorious, 31-26.
Later on in the evening, a more senior Sharks team played against Russia and comfortably beat them 64-14 after leading 26-7 at half-time.
BULLS DOMINATE UP-TUKS CLASHES
UP-Tuks meanwhile were in familiar surroundings when The Bulls arrived at their Tuks Stadium home ground for two clashes. What happened next would not have been familiar to the Stripe Generation, who will hope to upgrade their 2019 Varsity Cup runners-up once this year’s tournament gets underway on 3 February.
The Bulls squad, packed with Varsity Cup alumni and coached by former UP-Tuks mentor Pote Human (2013-17), dominated both clashes.
In the first, Springboks Sevens star Rosko Specman dotted down twice during a 40-0 win. The second game was even more emphatic, as the Bulls ran in 14 tries to UP-Tuks’ solitary effort on the way to a 96-5 win.
STORMERS SWEAT IT OUT DURING VARSITY DAY
If any Stormers players overindulged during their end-of-year break then either the sweltering conditions at Florida Park in Ravensmead or the three ‘chukkas’ against varsity opposition would have sorted them out.
First up for John Dobson (UCT head coach 2008-10) and his men was 2019 Varsity Shield champions CPUT, who lost out by 5-10 during the 20 minutes.
Later in the afternoon, when the temperature had cooled but the wind had picked up, the Stormers had to settle for a single-try victory over a game Ikeys team – 5-0. Finally, they faced Varsity Cup holders Maties and, despite Neethling Fouche (UP-Tuks 2014-17) picking up a yellow card for them, the Super Rugby franchise secured another 10-5 result.
During the inter-varsity clashes, when the Stormers players were taking breathers, Maties beat CPUT 15-10 and UCT 10-5, while UCT beat CPUT 15-0.
Full Varsity Day results:
Maties 15-10 CPUT
DHL Stormers 10-5 CPUT
DHL WP XV 15-10 DHL Stormers
UCT 15-5 DHL WP XV
Maties 10-5 UCT
DHL WP XV 25-0 Maties
DHL WP XV 0-0 CPUT
UCT 15-0 CPUT
DHL Stormers 5-0 UCT
DHL Stormers 10-5 Maties