Champion Tuks equal Maties’ Varsity Cup record

Cup Competitions

Tuks from the University of Pretoria are the 2017 Varsity Cup champions.

Given a sound platform by a very dominant pack and a real general at flyhalf in Tinus de Beer the home team were deserved 28-21 winners on Monday night after outscoring the Maties two tries to one in the final played at the LC de Villiers Stadium in Pretoria.

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It was a memorable Monday night in Pretoria for Tuks after they beat Maties to claim their third Varsity Cup title. Photo: Christiaan Kotze, SaspaThe moment it happened! The final whistle goes and Tuks jump for joy as they win the Varsity Cup. Photo: Christiaan Kotze, Saspa

Tuks also won the round-one league fixture between the teams 13-9, also in Pretoria.

With the victory, Tuks equal Maties’ record of having won three titles since Varisty Cup started 10 years ago.

It was a tight affair throughout the 80 minutes, with few highlights. The first half was riddled with errors, but it was the home team that certainly edged their opponents in the territory and possession stakes.

But they still trailed at the break because they were unable to convert their possession into points.

Tuks were knocked back early when lock Jaco Venter ran a great line and took a good inside pass by centre Chris Smit to open the scoring with a nine-point converted try, but before Maties could celebrate, they conceded a rather soft five-pointer themselves.

Captain and flank Chris Massyn dotted down for the hosts when a powerful scrum by Tuks disintegrated on Maties’ tryline, and things got worse for the visitors when Venter was yellow-carded soon after for a tip-tackle.

However, Maties stretched their lead through penalties by Chris Smith and Tiaan Swanepoel, but in the latter stages of the first period, the home team got the reward for their overall dominance when De Beer slotted two penalties to make it a two-point game at the break.

But while Smith put the visitors six clear soon after the restart, Tuks powered into the lead for the first time in the match in the 46th minute when centre Divan Rossouw collected a perfectly weighted chip kick into space by De Beer to score under the posts; the seven-point try and conversion putting the home team 22-18 up.

De Beer soon slotted another penalty for his team and while Tuks were reduced to playing with 14 men for 10 minutes – when replacement prop Jaco Holtzhausen was sin-binned for a shoulder charge on Maties hooker Craig Corbett and giving away three points from the penalty – they still held the upperhand as the game went into the final quarter.

De Beer slotted a fourth penalty in the 67th minute to put his team 28-21 ahead and they’d hang on for the victory.

The moment it happened! The final whistle goes and Tuks jump for joy as they win the Varsity Cup. Photo: Christiaan Kotze, Saspa

* Meanwhile, following the completion of the 2017 season, a 23-man Varsity Cup Dream Team to face the Junior Springboks on April 25 in Stellenbosch was announced.

The team was chosen by a panel of independent selectors and will be coached by the winning Varsity Cup coach, Pote Human of Tuks. It’ll be captained by Maties fullback Craig Barry.

Varsity Cup Dream Team

15 Craig Barry (Maties, captain), 14 Sibahle Maxwane (Tuks), 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi (UJ), 12 Impi Visser (Tuks), 11 Duncan Saal (Maties), 10 Tinus de Beer (Tuks), 9 André Warner (Tuks), 8 Kevin Kaba (Madibaz), 7 Kobus van Dyk (Maties), 6 Daniël Maartens (Shimlas), 5 Loftus Morrison (Pukke), 4 Aston Fortuin (Tuks), 3 Neethling Fouché (Tuks), 2 Wilmar Arnoldi (Pukke), 1 Andrew Beerwinkel (Tuks).

Bench: 16 Johannes Snyman (UJ), 17 Luvuyo Pupuma (Wits), 18 Nico du Plessis (UJ), 19 Johan Momsen (Maties), 20 Phumzile Maqondwana (Shimlas), 21 Herschel Jantjies (UWC), 22 Ernst Stapelberg (Maties), 23 Michal Hazner (Maties).

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