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UJ hold off Wits, Maties march on in Varsity Cup

Cup Competitions

UJ managed to beat rivals Wits in an enthralling game on Monday to solidify their top-four spot in the 2017 Varsity Cup.

The opening half of the Johannesburg derby went in the way of Wits early on as they scored an early penalty through Warren Gilbert, and were a man up as UJ starlet Aphiwe Dyanti received a yellow card in the opening five minutes.

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UJ players celebrate at the final whistle after outlasting Wits on Monday. Photo: Christiaan Kotze, SaspaMaties wing Craig Barry scores one of his four tries against CUT. Photo: Frikkie Kapp, Saspa

UJ were up for the task as flyhalf Divan Nel also converted a penalty and it was soon 3-3.

The home side then needed assistance from the TMO, and the referee awarded the try courtesy of Jo-Hanko De Villiers to go 8-3 ahead.

Warren Gilbert of Wits closed the gap with a penalty and keep the game within reach.

UJ pounced on some hesitant defending and Jaco Fourie managed to block a kick as the ball bounced in his favour to touch down for a try. Divan Nel scored the conversion from an acute angle to make 15-6.

Wits stormed through with a powerful maul and the home side were left flat footed. Their try was converted by hooker CJ Conradie, and the captain made no mistake with the conversion, 15-13.

At this stage Wits were playing like the home side, as their away supporters, who came out in numbers, spurred them on and they eventually took the lead thanks to Ruan Cloete. Wits led 18-15.

UJ clawed back thanks to Divan Nel and the match was perfectly poised at 18-18 heading into halftime.

The tightly contested match could afford no margin for error and UJ took a slender advantage with another penalty for Divan Nel.

With the score at 21-18 to UJ, the home side scored the try that mattered as Adrian Bester touched with a vital five-pointer, and Divan Nel slotted the conversion. The score was now 28-18.

There was, however, to be a final twist in the tale as Wits powered through again from a maul and were narrowly beaten 28-23.

* Maties ensured that they will stay in the running for the final of the Varsity Cup by comfortably rolling over a gutsy CUT in Bloemfontein. 

After leading 43-16 at the break, Maties eventually won 73-44, scoring nine tries to the five of CUT.

As was the case last week, CUT came back with a bang late in the second half, scoring three unanswered tries in the last 10 minutes.

Maties ensured victory in the first half, scoring five tries, of which four were seven-point tries. Adding to this, fullback Tiaan Swanepoel drove home the scoreboard advantage by slotting all five first-half conversions.

Maties wing Craig Barry scores one of his four tries against CUT. Photo: Frikkie Kapp, Saspa

* UP-Tuks outscored UCT seven tries to three in their 51-23 win in Pretoria.

UP-Tuks started like a house on fire, making regular inroads in UCT’s half, but it was the Capetonians who scored first through hooker Cuan Hablutzel, who barged over for his second try moments later to give UCT a 14-point lead.

The Ikeys added salt to the University of Pretoria’s wounds when No 8 Nyasha Tarusenga chased a perfectly placed kick to score a seven-point try in the 28th minute.

UP-Tuks may have been down in the first half, but they were certainly not out as the home team scored tries to scrumhalf André Warner and wing Sibahle Maxwane. Flyhalf Tinus de Beer converted Maxwane’s touchdown to go into the break 23-12 behind.

The second half proved to be an all Pretoria affair, with UP-Tuks scoring five more tries, including two penalty tries.

* Shimlas beat Madibaz 23-7 in Bloemfontein and could not secure a bonus point, leaving their semi-final spot dependant on next week’s result between Tuks and Pukke.

Shimlas opened their account first with a seven-pointer from a brilliant tactical kick by wing Carel Coetzee, which was picked up by fullback Marco Mason. He converted his own try to make the score 9-0 to Shimlas.

After consistent pressure by the Shimlas, followed by a fine backline move, wing Vuyani Maqina went over for a five-pointer to stretch the lead to 14-0 in the 28th minute.

Madibaz centre Andile Jho crossed the line for a seven-pointer to make the halftime score 14-7 to Shimlas.

The University of Free State kept up the momentum as flyhalf Nakkie Naudé scored the third try, converted by Marco Mason, to stretch the lead to 23-7 two minutes into the second half.

Shimlas replacement hooker Francois Steyn was sent off with a yellow card with five minutes remaining.

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