FNB UJ scored four tries to beat local rivals FNB Wits 32-15 and notch their first victory of the season in Johannesburg on Monday night.
The home team simply made better use of their opportunities to earn a bonus-point victory against a spirited Wits outfit that is still looking for their first win in the competition.
Wits made a promising start to the game, forcing UJ to play from their own half in the opening exchanges, and it was the visitors who got on the scoreboard first through a penalty from scrumhalf Matthew Torrance.
They kept the pressure on and were soon on the attack again in the UJ 22 where flank JP Jonck came within inches of scoring but a double movement meant that UJ got away with it.
Having soaked up that early pressure UJ launched an attack of their own, and after working their way into the right corner the ball was spun wide to wing Michael Haznar who got over in the corner to put his team 8-2 up.
Wits looked for a response and hammered away at the UJ defence, but the home team stood firm and managed to clear their lines without conceding any more points to leave them with a six-point advantage in the first strategy break.
Wits were determined to make their dominance count, but crucial errors saw their attacking forays break down too often as UJ managed to keep them at bay.
Their hosts made them pay and gave them a lesson in finishing as well when some good handling in midfield saw centre Jacques Nel cross for their second try.
UJ would take a comfortable 24-2 lead into the half-time break, with flank Tiaan MacDonald crashing over for their third try from a powerful driving maul and fullback Marais Schmidt slotting his third conversion.
Wits started the second half with purpose as they looked for a way back into the game, and they were finally rewarded when replacement Jason Fraser ran a good angle to score their first try just before the second strategy break.
UJ were hunting for their bonus-point try and came close with a driving maul, but a turnover and breakaway by Wits wing Jacques Erasmus put his side right back on the attack, with Jonck eventually forcing his way over for a try which cut UJ’s lead to 24-15.
A powerful driving maul put UJ back on the front foot in the Wits 22, and it was not long before MacDonald got over for his second try which earned them the bonus point.
To their credit Wits played hard until the final whistle, but could not add to their tally and are still looking for their first log points this season.
For FNB UJ:
Tries: Haznar, Nel, MacDonald 2
Cons: Schmidt 3
For FNB Wits:
Tries: Fraser, Jonck
FNB UJ: 15 Marais Schmidt, 14 PJ Walters, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Michael Haznar, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Jacques Pretorius (captain), 8 Rhynaard van Wyk, 7 Dylan Peterson, 6 Tiaan MacDonald, 5 David Antonites, 4 Jeremy Jordaan, 3 Van Zyl Botha, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Wiseman Kamanga.
Replacements: 16 Jannes Snyman, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Shane Kirkwood, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Lukas van Zyl, 21 Juan Kotze, 22 Peter Morton, 23 Hendrik Bredenkamp.
FNB Wits: 15 Ruhan Nel, 14 Jacques Erasmus, 13 Nkuli Gamede, 12 Mandla Dube, 11 Joshua Jarvis, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Mathew Torrance, 8 Senna Esterhuizen, 7 J.P. Jonck, 6 Peter van Biljon, 5 Rendani Ramovha, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Gideon Muller, 2 Ashley Kohler, 1 Hannes Ludick.
Replacements: 16 James Marx, 17 Kyle Wood, 18 Conor Brockschmidt, 19 Thato Mavundla, 20 Divan Ferguson, 21 Ish Nkolo, 22 Jason Fraser, 23 Kelly Ferdinand.
Referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Eduan Nel
TMO: Johan Greeff