JOHANNESBURG - In a pulsating game played in front of a noisy crowd in Braamfontein, Wits scored a famous Varsity Cup win against defending champions, Tuks, romping home 25-19 in front of their home fans on Monday night.
Led by the impressive Constant Beckerling, whose engine fired all night long, and marshalled at the back by the brilliant 18-year-old No 10 Christian Humphries and fullback Tyrone Green, Wits are now two-from-two in 2018.
Coached by the highly respected and seasoned Hugo van As, Wits went into the game on the back of beating Ikeys in Cape Town in round one (30-26), while the defending champions, Tuks, were shocked 19-17 by Shimlas in Pretoria last week.
It was the men from Pretoria who struck the first blow on Monday night; centre Toko Seerane finishing off after running a perfect line, but before the visitors’ celebratory dances were over, Wits struck right back.
Centre Sicelo Champion went over after his captain Constant Beckerling had called a “powerplay”, the home side making the most of their numerical advantage. The seven-point try and the touchline conversion by young Humphries put Wits in front by 9-7 and while the next 20 minutes were fairly scrappy the home team struck the next major blow.
Wing Kwanele Ngema rounded off a counter-attack that started deep in his own half and after Humphries had shown a clean pair of heels to outstrip the defence and send the winger on his way. The conversion made it a second nine-point score and left Wits 18-7 up.
Tuks though closed the gap to just four points at the interval – and deservedly so – when wing Xolisa Guma finished off in the corner on the stroke of half-time.
The ding-dong battle continued after the restart with Wits winger Bin Kasende Kapepula going over in the corner for his team, just to be followed onto the scorer’s list by fellow winger Guma, who got his second try of the match moments later for Tuks.
The visitors then called their “powerplay” and sent Wits’ Humphries and Green off the field, but they were unable to make it count. Wits hung onto the ball for the full three minutes and basically broke the spirit of the visitors. They did launch a last-gasp effort, but excellent Wits defending kept Tuks out, resulting in the home team registering a famous win.
In Port Elizabeth, in their first outing this year, Madibaz went down to UCT’s Ikeys, who won 27-17. Also on Monday night, Maties beat Shimlas 56-21 and UJ beat CUT48-21.
He did it again! #FNBVarsityCup11 has just started and @WitsUniversity captain Constant Beckerling has already delivered the best post-match interview of the year!
"The guys played with enormous testicles." #MakeTheTeam pic.twitter.com/aZ8hb09iEr