An exciting Varsity Cup, Round Five fixture in a wet Johannesburg saw FNB UCT come up tops over a determined FNB UJ side by 37-29
In a game where everyone was predicating a forward-dominated, grinding game – suited to UJ – the Ikeys came out with intense energy and skill to blow away the home team with three quick tries in the opening 13 minutes.
UCT dominated at the line-out and even in the scrums against the larger UJ forwards and UCT were able to keep the score board ticking over at crucial times in the game – even with a UJ revival in the second half.
UJ fought back bravely from the visitors’ rollicking start, but without being able to dominate the tight phases, nor keeping up with the UCT backline’s flair, UJ were always chasing the game.
UCT came out firing after a UJ mistake led to the first scrum of the game, The Cape Town pack were able to give eighthman Vince Jobo a steady platform to get the ball away to the backline which led to a great run by the English import Huw Jones.
This, in turn, allowed the outside backs to move the ball quickly through the hands to right-wing Richard Stewart who dotted down in the corner. Referee Rasta Rasivhenge sent it upstairs but TMO Wille Roos was happy to award the try. Dean Grant slotted the conversion tight on the right hand sideline giving UCT an 8-0 advantage after just two minutes.
The Ikeys continued to pile on the pressure in the tight phases as a five-metre scrum on the UJ line was turned around, giving the Ikeys a large openside to exploit. The front row of UCT decided to take things into their own hands by bunting the home team’s pack backwards and this gave powerhouse Jobo an easy try as he dotted down from the base. Grant was once again able to add the extra three points for a 16-0 lead.
The hosts began to build up phases as they used their bigger forwards to try bash up towards the UCT line only for the ball to be turned over. A clearing kick from UCT was fumbled backwards, allowing Dean Grant to pick the ball up and spread it to the backline, fullback Ross Jones-Davies was on the outside to provide a fantastic hand-off before going over in the left-hand corner. Grant was unable to maintain his 100% kicking record, this time pushing the ball wide.
UJ, clearly rattled, decided to implement more of a kicking game which was far more effective as Huw Jones was yellow-carded for cynical play when he kicked the ball away depriving UJ the quick through. from the resulting penalty UJ opted for the line out and after sucking in the UCT defence the ball was swung out wide to PJ Walters on the right wing who was able to step his way in-field to score near the posts. Fullback Marais Schmidt was able to slot an easy kick as UJ got their first points in the game right on the first strategy break.
A fumble at line-out time for the Ikeys right on their line gave UJ another opportunity to fight back, they shifted the ball from one side of the field to the other but the referee awarded the hosts another attacking opportunity from a scrum for unintentionally killing the ball. UCT felt more and more pressure as Wiseman Kamanga knocked on while stretching for the line after the ball was spread from the scrum. The referee played advantage, and the visitors finally cracked as a vicious maul sent David Antonites flying over the line, Schmidt adding the important three points with a fantastic strike from the left-hand sideline.
UCT kept giving UJ headaches at scrum-time and the hosts were caught for putting the ball in skew on their own five-metre line. The Ikeys milked a penalty from the resultant free-kick, which became two more penalties – UCT opting for scrums both times. It eventually became too much for the UJ pack who splintered under the force, allowing replacement loose forward Guy Alexander to pop over the line from two metres out.
Amazingly, Alexander’s score gave UCT the bonus point, as Grant’s conversion took the score to 29-16 at half-time in favour of the Men from Cape Town.
UJ came out for the second half with far more fire in their bellies.
A well-structured piece of play resulted in an opportunity for reserve hooker Jannes Snyman who found himself out on the right-wing, but it required a TMO decision to determine that Snyman was in fact dragged into touch by a try-saving tackle from the Ikeys.
A controversial decision by the referee saw two yellow cards being brandished to hard-working lock Shane Kirkwood and UJ captain Jaques Pretorius for what was deemed as foul play. Pretorious used a flat hand to push against Ikeys lock forward Jan Uys as the hosts won a penalty on UCT’s line and it was Kirkwood who also added his open hand close to Uys’s face. The TMO was called on to give his judgment and Jaco van Heerden felt that the actions deserved a double sin-binning.
This opened up the space for the Ikeys who were able to push UJ all the way back to their goalline and left-wing Lihleli Xoli was able to stroll over the line without a hand being laid on him – taking full advantage of the two missing UJ players. Grant took the easy conversion to add the points – UCT went up by 37-16.
A high up-and-under from UCT saw replacement back Martin Sauls taking the man out in the air, the referee once again reached for his pocket and sent the Ikeys man off for 10 minutes.
Jaco van der Walt took advantage of UJ’s numerical advantage, with Kirkwood and Potgieter returning to the field, to score a try after some good pressure with UCT’s defence being stretched thin. Marais Schmidt stepped up to take an important kick, cutting the deficit by eight as it slid inside the left hand upright.
The home teams revival towards the end of the game continued as relentless pressure on the Ikeys line led to multiple penalties but it was the UCT team who were able to clear their lines at critical times. The possession in the second half attributed to UCT’s fantastic defence as it showed UJ having 80 percent of the ball.
UJ kept the fight alive all the way to the 79th minute as PJ Walters was able to sneak over in the corner giving UJ two bonus points, for scoring four tries and one for finishing within eight points.
To their credit, the University of Johannesburg continued to push up-field looking for the draw as the match went into injury-time, but Guy Alexander’s brave steal at the breakdown saw the referees signal for full-time and a 37-29 result in favour of the 2011 champions.
For FNB UJ:
Tries: Walters 2, Antonites, Van der Walt
Cons: Schmidt 3
For FNB UCT:
Tries: Stewart, Jobo, Jones-Davies, G Alexander, Xoli
Cons: Grant 4
Yellow cards: Huw Jones (Cynical play), Shane Kirkwood and Jacques Pretorious (foul play), Martin Sauls (taking man out in the air)
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 Kobus Porter, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Tiaan MacDonald, 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Van Zyl Botha, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Wiseman Kamanga.
Replacements: 16 Jannes Snyman, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Dylan Peterson, 20 Lukas van Zyl, 21 Juan Kotze, 22 Pieter Morton, 23 Hendrik Bredenkamp.
FNB UCT: 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Nicholas Holton, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 James Alexander (captain), 8 Vince Jobo, 7 Shaun McDonald, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Robin Murray.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Msizi Zondi, 18 Kyle Kriel, 19 Guy Alexander, 20 Liam Slatem, 21 Martin Sauls, 22 Suwilanju Chibale, 23 David Maasch.
Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Jaco van Heerden
TMO: Willie Roos