The match between CUT and UJ was never going to be the highlight of Varsity Cup’s Round Three action on Monday.
While all the focus would have been on defending champions Maties’ efforts against Tuks over in Pretoria later in the day, the seventh and ninth-placed teams respectively played their part in a see-saw battle that saw home side Central University of Technology (CUT) beat University of Johannesburg 27-26 in Bloemfontein.
Both sides were almost evenly matched in every aspect that matters. There was no major disparity when it came to set-pieces won, turnovers conceded or tries scored.
And while UJ probably produced more when it came to letting the ball do the work, UJ did their fair share when they had the chance as well.
Fullback Odwa Nkunjana brought movement to the scoreboard early on when he cut in at second receiver and easily rounded CUT’s narrow defence to dot down.
CUT responded not too long afterwards with a try through Anrich Alberts, and added a penalty kick as well, but two more tries by the Johannesburg outfit granted them a 19-10 lead just before halftime.
The hosts weren’t done with the first 40 just yet, though, as Hardus Nel crashed over in the 42nd minute to cut the opposition’s lead down to a two-point one (17-19).
It took a quarter in the second stanza for the teams to get any points in the form of a try (CUT slotted a penalty kick after halftime), and it was the hosts who did the honours first with a forwards-driven effort to stretch their lead through a converted try in the 61st minute (27-19).
A 69th-minute converted try by Shaun Williams turned the already-tight contest into an even more tense one (27-26), but CUT managed to hold on and secure the win.
Scenes in Bloem as @cutfsonline have beaten @UJ_Sport by just a single point in a see-saw battle! The home side pick up their first victory of the season.— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) February 18, 2019
FNB CUT 27 - 26 FNB UJ #RugbyThatRocks pic.twitter.com/saS1FgWaXu
CUT 27 – Tries: Anrich Alberts, Hardus Nel, Ruben Cross. Conversions: Heinrich Bitzi (3). Penalties: Bitzi (2).
UJ 26 – Tries: Odwa Nkunjana (2), Stephen Basera, Shaun Williams. Conversions: Jeanluc Cilliers (3).@WynonaLouw