Stellenbosch made to fight to retain pole position on Varsity Cup log
STELLENBOSCH – The Maties entrenched their pole position on the Varsity Cup log with a hard-fought 13-7 victory over arch-rivals Tukkies.
Last season's runners-up pushed the defending champions all the way, but once again fell short at the final hurdle with the last pass often going astray.
The home team were certainly made to fight hard for their victory, particularly as they had run in over 50 points past their opponents in their last two matches.
Monday night's encounter was never expected to be as one-sided and it certainly proved to be an intense battle between the two forward packs.
The opening period saw both teams feel each other out before the Maties opened the scoring in the 15th minute.
The Men in Maroon moved the ball left within the Tuks' 22 where outside centre Dawid Britz popped the ball inside to right wing Munier Hartzenberg, who fell agonisingly short of the line before making the ball available to skipper Ben-Jason Dixon, who opened the scoring for the home team.
Maties flyhalf Reinhardt Fortuin added the two points with a comfortable conversion.
Full time and the @maties_rugby maroon machine hold off a determined @TuksSport in Stellenbosch. Great north vs south derby!— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) March 2, 2020
FNB Maties 13 - 7 FNB Tuks#RugbyThatRocks proudly brought to you by @FNBSA and @SteersSA pic.twitter.com/nVYtegffXH
Tukkies, though, were not intimidated and wasted no time and hit straight back. The space out wide was beautifully exploited and impressive right-wing Stefanus Coetzee went over in the corner. Theo Boshoff added the extras for the visitors.
The teams continued to slug it out for the remainder of the first half with the only further points being a penalty from Fortuin.
The second half was a completely scoreless affair with Fortuin dominating play with his educated boot as he drove back Tuks with a long touch finders.
It certainly helped that he had a gust of wind at his back, but it does take expert knowledge of the local conditions to exploit it the way Maties No 10 did.
The hard-earned victory has perfectly set up the all-Cape derby here at the Danie Craven Stadium when UCT's Ikeys come to Stellenbosch.
Meanwhile in Potchefstroom, the North West University picked up their second win of the season in front of a delighted home crowd with a 19-6 victory over the University of Johannesburg.
Central University of Technology triumphed in the Free State derby by overwhelming Shimlas 35-14.
Full time and another draw for the @ikeytigers! A late try by Saidi Tshituka for @WitsSport and both sides remain unbeaten!— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) March 2, 2020
FNB UCT 10 - 10 FNB Wits#RugbyThatRocks proudly brought to you by @FNBSA and @SteersSA pic.twitter.com/oHAejJ2AMB
At the Green Mile, a late try by Emmanuel Tshituka and conversion by Kurt Webster allowed Wits to escape with a 10-all draw with hosts University of Cape Town.@ZaahierAdams