Tuks players celebrate after the final whistle on Monday following a 24-18 win over Pukke to reach the Varsity Cup final. Photo: Catherine Kotze/Saspa/Varsity Sport

Maties versus UP-Tuks at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday, April 15...

While there might be nothing really surprising about that Varsity Cup final fixture, what these two sides produced in the semi-finals on Monday night should have done enough to build up even more hype.

In the first semi of the day, it was Tuks’ impressive defence to keep NWU from celebrating a comeback triumph that made their victory even sweeter.

And in the second, Maties never even gave Shimlas a chance.

Tuks got on the scoreboard first against Pukke, thanks to left wing Ciaran Dayaram, and he was responsible for the second as well.

A clearance kick in the 10th minute gifted Tuks a lineout on NWU’s five.

Compared to their last outing against Tuks, they contested, and overall their lineout looked an improved area, but the hosts came away with it anyway.

What followed was a brilliant piece of play by flyhalf Tinus de Beer, who sent an accurate kick-pass to the left corner for Dayaram to gather and score after a few phases.

A few minutes later, De Beer added three more points to their tally to extend their lead to 15-0.

NWU started getting into their flow in the second quarter, but all they gained from their efforts were three points courtesy of Schalk Hugo’s boot, followed by a response from De Beer.

It took them a while to score, and after paying for a number of 50-50 passes at TUKS Stadium, right wing Lungelo Gosa made sure they did it in style when they managed to dot down to reduce the deficit to 18-8.

Another penalty by Hugo in the third quarter meant that the visitors needed only one converted try (or a seven-point one) to level the scores, but Tuks made sure that they kept some daylight on the scoreboard by slotting three more points.

Then came Wian Conradie’s dive over the tryline, which made it all to play for at 21-18.

Suddenly, all those stats – like the one which stated that Tuks have won all of the semis they’ve led in at halftime, and that 18 of the 22 semi-finalists who were in command at the break emerged victorious – become interesting.

Could Pukke bring an abrupt end to the first piece of information?

It seemed like a real prospect, even when De Beer took it to a six-point game with five minutes to go at 24-18.

NWU got another chance with a minute on the clock.

And ironically enough, instead of going for a scrum, they opted for a lineout. Tuks didn’t contest. Pukke secured possession and set up a few phases.

And as good as a try from that piece of play would have been, as good as that script would have been – stats and all – Tuks turned it over and booked their spot in the final against Maties.

In the second semi, the Stellenbosch side bulldozed their way to a 47-5 victory at the Danie Craven Stadium as they scored seven tries to Shimlas’ one, to end their season on a perfect note as they head into another home final.


Tuks 24 – Tries: Ciaran Dayaram (2). Conversions: Tinus de Beer (1). Penalties: De Beer (4).

NWU 18 – Tries: Lungelo Gosa, Wian Conradie. Conversion: Schalk Hugo (1). Penalties: Hugo (2).

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Maties 47 – Tries: Anton du Toit (2), Dan Jooste, Ben-Jason Dixon, Chris Massyn, Edwill van der Merwe, HJ Luus. Conversions: Jordan Chait (5), Reinhardt Fontuin (1).

Shimlas 5 – Try: Ruan Kramer.


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