FNB UJ secured a 42-8 victory over the FNB UKZN Impi in their promotion/relegation play-off in Potchefstroom to end their hopes of playing in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International next season.
The men in orange outscored the KwaZulu-Natal side by six tries to one to ensure that they will be playing Varsity Cup rugby again next year after finishing seventh on the standings this season.
UJ took the game to UKZN, but they were turned over early on and it was the Varsity Shield side that struck first when skipper Lwazi Ngcungama got over for the opening try after a great break from centre Brandon Bailing.
Flyhalf Duncan Campbell added the conversion to put them 8-0 up, but those were to be their last points of the match and it was not long before the Johannesburg side had hit back as wing Andries Oosthuizen ran in an easy try after a powerful driving maul.
Some clever kicking from the UKZN halfbacks put them on the front foot in opposition territory once again, and hooker Dean Muir managed to cross the tryline but he had made a double movement so UJ were able to clear their line.
UJ were looking to keep things direct as they charged at the Impi’s defence and even got the ball over the tryline after a tighthead, but the try was disallowed after the TMO spotted loosehead Devon Martinus throw a punch at the scrum.
The big prop was shown a yellow card which sent his team into the first strategy break trailing 8-5 with a man down.
Things opened up when play got back underway with opportunities at both ends, and it was UJ’s right wing PJ Walters who was able to stroll over next to the poles after another attacking line-out.
The conversion from flyhalf Marais Schmidt gave UJ the lead for the first time in the game at 13-8 despite being down to 14 men.
The Gauteng outfit made all the running in the period before half-time, but they could not make it count as another try was disallowed just before the break.
UKZN made a determined start to the second half, but their defensive workload before half-time had clearly taken its toll and UJ were able to soak up the pressure fairly easily before striking through fullback Juan Kotze.
It was a familiar formula as the ball was sent wide to Kotze after a driving maul, and he simply had too much pace as he glided through to extend the lead to 21-8.
The orange tide continued to roll and some desperate defence from UKZN on their own tryline saw replacement Gavin Nyawata shown a yellow card for repeated infringements from his side.
UJ swung it wide from the resulting line-out, and Oosthuizen was on hand out on the left wing to surge over for their fourth try which gave them a healthy 29-8 advantage.
To their credit UKZN fought hard until the final whistle, but UJ had the final say as late tries from replacements Dylan Peterson and Wiseman Kamanga sealed the comfortable win.
For FNB UJ:
Tries: Oosthuizen 2, Walters, Kotze, Peterson, Kamanga
Cons: Schmidt 4
For FNB UKZN:
Yellow cards: Devon Martinus (UJ, 19 mins – Foul play), Gavin Nyawata (UKZN, 61 mins – Repeated infringements)
FNB UJ: 15 Juan Kotze, 14 PJ Walters, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Andries Oosthuizen, 10 Marais Schmidt, 9 Viaan van der Watt, 8 JP Swanepoel, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Kobus Porter, 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Van Zyl Botha, 2 Jannes Snyman, 1 Devon Martinus.
Replacements: 16 Qinisile Siphatho, 17 Wiseman Kamanga, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Dylan Peterson, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Pieter Morton, 23 Hendrik Bredenkamp.
FNB UKZN: 15 Hendrik Groenewald, 14 Shayne Makombe, 13 Brandon Bailing, 12 Kurt Mavrodaris, 11 Hendrik Lategan, 10 Duncan Campbell, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Deon Carney, 7 Zwela Zondi, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama (captain), 5 Gideon Koegelengberg, 4 Adam Wessels, 3 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Henri Boshoff.
Replacements: 16 Mikyle Webster, 17 Bartholomeus le Roux, 18 Johan Wagenaar, 19 Sanele Malwane, 20 Phillip Molnar, 21 Gavin Nyawata, 22 Yandisa Mdolomba, 23 Sizwe Kuhbeka.
Referees: Jaco Kotze, Tahla Ntshakaza
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Johan Greeff