STELLENBOSCH - CUT have secured their spot in the Varsity for 2019 after scraping past WSU, 37-31, in a promotion-relegation battle at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday.
The two sides met to decide who would play in the Varsity Cup after WSU finished second on the overall table in the Varsity Shield, while CUT slumped to second last on the Varsity Cup log which saw them play in the promotion-relegation game.
WSU were out of the blocks early after star flanker Mihlali Mosi crashed over the line. The All Blacks did well to secure possession in the CUT 22-metre area after intercepting the Bloemfontein side's lineout. Flyhalf Beauton Pholman gave an inside ball for Mosi to score under the posts. Pholman added the extras making it 7-0.
CUT made an attempt to hit back just afterwards. The men in blue went wide with number eight Stefan Kruger conducting play, but the ball was lost forward in the final pass.
Tiaan Liebenberg's men finally got onto the scoreboard after using their heavy forwards to pull the WSU defence to the left side of the field before spreading it right with winger Erasmus Breedt getting over the line.
CUT took the lead for the first time in the game after utilising a driving maul well to push WSU over for a try in the corner through captain Tiaan Erasmus.
Mosi scored his second try of the game after winger Athenkosi Ndzenene picked up a no-where kick from CUT and ran 40 metres before going down thanks to a last-gasp ankle tap. Ndzenene popped off the ball to Mosi who finished off the seven-point try under the sticks with Pholman getting the conversion.
CUT responded well though with Breedt getting over, in a try very similar to the first one, utilising the field position well and sending it wide.
The men from the East London finished the first half with a 16-15 lead.
WSU started off the second-half well with a beautiful long penalty from full-back Xakwane Lusanda to compound their lead. CUT scored moments later through another forward drive and grabbed the lead.
The Eastern Cape locals were so close to taking the lead back from CUT after beautiful set piece move saw Sinegugu Lituka dot down in the corner, but it was deemed a knock on by the TMO.
CUT flyhalf Denver Klue then scored in the corner to grab a solid 25-19 lead going in the last Strategy break.
The All Blacks weren't done yet though and called a Power Play just after the Strategy Break. They used it effectively and star hooker Maliviwe Simanga ran from his own half to grab a seven-point try take the lead and make the score 28-25.
CUT called their Power Play immediately afterwards. WSU's defence held CUT out for the Power Play but the men from Bloemfontein used the time to gain valuable field position to earn a scrum on the WSU five metre line. CUT retook the lead once again after scoring a try through another maul off the line out with Sylvester Makakole dotting down.
CUT number nine Ruben de Haas scored a last-gasp try to seal his side's status in the FNB Varsity Cup.