FNB UP-Tuks humbled a plucky FNB UFS-Shimlas side as they eased to a 26-0 victory in a stop-start FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International encounter in Pretoria on Monday.
The visitors showed their willingness to go wide from the get go while the hosts had a more measured approach, testing the UFS-Shimlas back three with up-and-unders and hitting up the ball with strong, direct running.
Line-out throws were an early Achilles heel for both sides in the perfect conditions, with skew throws from Sidney Tobias – son of former Springbok back Errol Tobias – and Jacques du Toit squandering try-scoring opportunities inside the attacking 22.
Tobias finally found his jumper, captain Reniel Hugo, in the 20th minute and No.8 Rudolph Smith was driven over from five metres out as UP-Tuks drew first blood. Flyhalf Tian Schoeman kicked the conversion to make it 8-0.
The visitors remained under the cosh for the majority of the first half and had great difficulty under the high ball. It was only through excellent defence, with captain Joubert Engelbrecht leading by example, and poor execution that UP-Tuks were unable to yield further reward for their territorial dominance.
The hosts butchered several more opportunities, and Schoeman’s missed penalty on the stroke of half-time summed up what was a frustrating first half for the defending champions.
UFS-Shimlas built some welcome momentum shortly after the interval but the heads dropped when flyhalf Gouws Prinsloo bit off too much with his penalty for the line and kicked the ball dead in-goal.
The Free Staters returned to the red zone on the hour mark but after being unable to breach the resolute UP-Tuks defence, Oupa Mohoje was penalised for holding on.
A breakaway by fullback Warrick Gelant got UP-Tuks back inside the attacking 22 where another excellent opportunity went begging when replacement Andrew Beerwinkel knocked on in contact one metre from the line.
UP-Tuks, however, were relentless and were finally rewarded when former IRB Junior World Championship-winning Baby Boks skipper Wiaan Liebenberg crashed over in the 69th minute after 12 phases to put some distance between them and Shimlas.
Schoeman added the conversion and kicked a penalty with five minutes to go, with Hugo having the final say with an intercept try in the last play of the game.
For FNB UP-Tuks:
Tries: Smith, Liebenberg, Hugo
Cons: Schoeman 3
FNB UP-Tuks: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Ryan Nell, 11 Kefentse Mahlo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Rudolph Smith, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Reniel Hugo (captain), 4 Dennis Visser, 3 Basil Short, 2 Sidney Tobias, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Jannes Kirsten, 19 Leneve Damens, 20 Emile Temperman, 22 Francois Tredoux, 22 Jacques Rossouw, 23 Andrew Beerwinkel.
FNB UFS-Shimlas: 15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Mapuhta Dolo, 13 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Sethu Tom, 10 Gouws Prinsloo, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Rudolf Botha.
Replacements: 16 Gideon Bruwer, 17 Franco van der Merwe, 18 Fanie van der Walt, 19 Johan van der Hoogt, 20 Kay-Kay Hlongwane, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 Divandré Strydom, 23 Justin Pappin.
Referees: Tahla Ntshakaza, Gerrie de Bruin
TMO: Willie Roos