JOHANNESBURG – The University of Witwatersrand (Wits) enjoyed being back at home for the second week running, this time around powering to an emphatic 74-40 victory against Varsity Cup debutants University of Western Cape (UWC) at the Wits Rugby Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday evening.
The victory sees Wits in fifth place on the log-table and with an outside chance of reaching the semifinals.
They meet North West University in the final game away from home next Monday night before the semifinals on April 8. At the moment Wits have 16 points, just one behind the University of Free State (Shimlas).
The home side virtually had this game in the bag in the first half, charging over four tries through CJ Conradie, Jared Fuller, Runaldo Pedro and last week’s star Daniel Kasende with Chris Humphries kicking exceptionally well.
Wits also finished stronger with a flurry of tries as the match drew to its inevitable conclusion.
Of the Wits players, two stood out. They were Constant Beckerling (FNB Player That Rocks) and Ronaldo Pedro (Steers Kinging Moment).
In Bloemfontein, hosts Central University of Technology (CUT) were brought down to earth with a bang, thrashed by a rampant North West University 60-7, after leading 32-0 at halftime.
Just one week after the University of Pretoria (Tuks) kept them scoreless in Potchefstroom, NWU bounced back in emphatic style to run in an eight-try to one victory over the giant-slayers CUT.
This win was actually made to look easy, as the visitors from Potch (NWU) had a 16-0 lead within the first 10 minutes of the match. CUT had simply had no remedy for the determined attacks of the opposition.
At no stage in this match could they gain any dominance with their normally dangerous pack of forwards, while at the back the home side could not achieve much with their limited possession either.
Louis van der Westhuizen’s troops can feel quite satisfied with this well-deserved win on the road, a victory that might have secured a semifinal spot
Outstanding players for NWU were Edmund Rheeder (Player that Rocks) and Schalk Hugo (Steers Kinging Moment).
At Shimla Park, Bloemfontein, University of Stellenbosch (Maties) beat the University of the Free State (Shimlas) convincingly 59-14.
Maties scored eight tries in a rampant display and now take a three-point lead on top of the log table with 33 points, three ahead of the University of Pretoria (Tuks), who have played their eight games and look set to play in the semifinals on April 8.
Maties’ forwards dominated the game and used the opportunities to score tries with flyhalf Jordan Chait shining with his display with his tactical kicking and keeping his backline slowing. He also made a valuable contribution to the scoreboard.
Somewhat surprisingly Shimlas were still in the game with 30 minutes remaining and will be disappointed not to have used their opportunities.
In the end, they had to admit that the surfeit of handling errors and poor lineouts cost them the game.
In next week's final round of matches, Maties are bound to entrench their top position at home to the University of Western Cape while the Shimlas travel to Johannesburg to play UJ.
The #FNBVarsityCup log after all the crazy round 8 games! Home semi-finals sorted for @maties_rugby and @TuksSport, but the competition for 4th place is wide open! Comes down to next week 🔥#RugbyThatRocks pic.twitter.com/6ny1nBZikX— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) March 25, 2019
At the Tuks Rugby Stadium in Pretoria, University of Pretoria (Tuks) staged a massive second-half blitz as they clawed their way back from a 26-0 halftime deficit to draw 26-26 against the University of Cape Town (Ikeys).
Fans around the ground were stunned in the first half of the match, not to mention officials who could not remember when Tuks had ever conceded 26 points without a reply at halftime.
Perhaps it was the heavy rain that started falling with the players battling to adapt to the slippery conditions that made for a helter-skelter game.
But Tuks certainly came out blazing in the second half, scoring the 26 points for the kind of draw one does not see very often.
Despite Tuks' fightback, they will be disappointed that they are now three points behind log-leaders the University of Stellenbosch (Maties) thought they seem assured of a semifinal place on April 8.
But they will stay on 30 points as they have played their full quota of eight games with the other teams all on seven.
Two players that stood out for Ikeys in that sizzling first half were Busanda Mabene (FNB Player that Rocks) and Rayno Mapoe.
African News Agency (ANA)