CAPE TOWN – In a tense match in Stellenbosch on Monday night, Maties bagged another win with a 24-16 victory over UP-Tuks – their third successive celebration in the 2018 Varsity Cup.
Maties got off to a good start and had most of the say with ball-in-hand, while Tuks – who had to encounter immense pressure in defence in the previous two weeks – showed impressive commitment themselves this time around as they had to put it all on the line to keep the hosts from doing damage.
Maties got two tries in the first half through lock Johan Momsen, who forced his way over the line from an attacking scrum, and a penalty try.
The powerplay – the new Varsity Cup rule that allows teams to pick any two opposition players to leave the field for three minutes – came into play in the first half already when Tuks chose to send Maties flyhalf Chris Smith and fullback Reinhardt Fontein from the field, but they couldn’t capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Maties were at a disadvantage again shortly afterwards when No 4 lock Ernst van Rhyn was yellow-carded for dangerous play, and Tuks – whose points until then were the results of three penalty kicks – got a converted try when fullback Willem Strydom crossed the whitewash to reduce the Maties’ lead to 16-14.
Dis altyd lente! @MatiesRugby supporters in full song after a great win against the defending champions FNB Tuks. The Maroon Machine now sit top of the log.#MakeTheTeam #FNBVarsityCup11 pic.twitter.com/5Dybncibgw
The start of the second half saw a number of errors from both sides, but the team from Pretoria came out and played with intent, and looked a much-improved unit than the one that went on to the field in the first two rounds.
Maties, however, were just as impressive for the greater part of the game, and the attacking play that they strung together, along with their superb work at the lineouts, stood out at the Danie Craven Stadium.
They also managed to score a great try through Chris Massyn from a driving maul following another dominant lineout showing to take a 21-16 lead.
In the last quarter of the contest, Tuks put up a big performance, but Maties managed to hold on.
Stellenbosch University didn’t manage to get the most out of their powerplay spell either, after they selected Tuks flyhalf Tinus de Beer and Rossouw to stand behind the posts.
The #FNBVarsityCup11 log after all the round 3 action this evening. Who would have thought that the defending champions FNB Tuks would be where they are currently!
Proudly brought to you by @FNBSA and @SteersSA pic.twitter.com/1VXRQAeAUd
And although Tuks looked increasingly good, Maties did enough to deprive Tuks of yet another Varsity Cup win in 2018 to stay top of the log and gain revenge for their 2017 final defeat, while Tuks find themselves at the bottom in eighth spot.
In other matches, CUT Ixias overcame the NMMU Madibaz 38-37, while Shimlas bagged another victory with a 44-24 win over Wits.
In the other match in the Cape, UCT Ikeys beat NWU-Pukke 18-15 at the ‘Green Mile’.
Maties 24 – Tries: Johan Momsen, Penalty Try, Chris Massyn. Conversions: Chris Smith (2). Penalty: Smith (1).
Tuks 16 – Try: Willem Strydom. Conversion: Tinus de Beer (1). Penalties: De Beer (3).