Centurion — University of Johannesburg (UJ) held out to edge Wits University 29-24 an a thrilling Varsity Cup derby at UJ Stadium in Johannesburg, on Monday.
With both sides having crossed the whitewash three times each, the difference would prove to be the two Point of Origin (POR) tries scored by UJ and their resolute defence for most of the encounter in cold and wet conditions.
Wits took the lead (3-0) in the third minute through a penalty from Chris Humphries.
Four minutes later, UJ responded with a try from hooker Darnell Osuagwu and fullback Shaun-Christian Baxter adding the conversion (7-3).
A strong rolling maul for UJ broke the Wits defence, before wing Likhaya Tengimfene finished off with a POR try in the corner. Baxter missed the conversion but UJ had moved out to a 14-3 lead.
The scoring in the second half was opened by the boot of Baxter with a long range penalty to extend UJ’s lead to 14 (17-3).
Wits were finally through for their first try of the match as fullback Setshaba Mokoena cut inside at pace from close range and scored next to the uprights. Humphries nudged over the conversion to cut the lead to seven (17-10).
Mokoena was involved again as he was denied just short of the UJ line, but eighthman Phillip Krause showed good strength to muscle his way over. Humphries slotted the conversion to level the scores (17-17) on the hour mark.
Wits regained the lead they last held in the sixth minute when Luhle Matyolweni fought off two defenders to score his first Varsity Cup try. Humphries nailed the conversion to move his side seven points ahead (24-17) with just over 10 minutes left.
A quick tap from penalty saw Musawenkosi Tshabalala sprint away from the Wits defence to score in the corner for a POR seven-point try. Baxter from the touchline made the conversion to edge his side ahead at 26-24.
Baxter slotted an important penalty with just over three minutes left to put UJ five ahead (29-24).
UJ 29(14) : Tries: Darnell Osuagwu, Likhaya Tengimfene (POR), Musawenkosi Tshabalala (POR) Conversions: Christian Baxter (2). Penalties: Baxter (2)
Wits 24(3) : Tries: Setshaba Mokoena, Phillip Krause, Luhle Matyolweni Conversions: Chris Humphries (3) Penalty: Humphries