FNB UCT all but booked their place in the play-offs this season with a clinical 25-5 victory over FNB UFS-Shimlas in Round Six of the 2014 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International.
The Ikey Tigers played into the normally notorious Green Mile wind in the first half, but it did not stop from running into an 18-0 half-time lead, a points-spree which paved their way to victory – amazingly, their first at home in 2014.
But the Men from Cape Town won’t be sweating too much over that record, as their fourth win overall this season – and third four-try victory of 2014 – saw them move to 19 points on the Varsity Cup log; ahead of UFS-Shimlas and Maties, with NMMU due to take on the defending champion UP-Tuks later on today.
UCT ran into an early 10-minute lead with a typically classy Richard Stewart try in the fifth minute of play, followed shortly after by a close-range effort from the always-industrious Jason Klaasen.
Flyhalf Dean Grant was unable to convert the scores, given that he was kicking into quite a stiff breeze (stiff by normal, not Green Mile standards it must be said!), but the hosts would have been elated with their 10-0 lead after as many minutes.
Powerful lock Shaun McDonald crashed over shortly before the 20-minute mark, Grant converting this time, as UCT went into the first strategy break at 18-0 up.
To their credit, the visitors began to put a few phases together as the first half went on, but they were unable to really threaten the UCT line as the hosts maintained their 18-0 going into half-time.
Shimlas started the second half the stronger of the two teams, taking a leaf out of UCT’s book from the first half, but just as they looked to really threaten the opposition goalline the ball was turned over and they were punished. Badly.
It was vintage Ikeys as the ball passed through numerous hands and down the field, Lihleli Xoli giving the final pass to the ever-alert Ross Jones-Davies, who slid in at the left-hand corner for the crucial fourth try.
Grant missed the tricky conversion from the left-hand side, but it was never going to matter, the No.10 later adding a penalty goal as the match moved towards the 70-minute with the Ikeys leading 25-0.
UFS-Shimlas managed a late try through hooker Jacques du Toit in the final 10 minutes, but it did not matter in the final analysis with UCT’s five points putting them within touching distance of a first semifinal since 2011 – the year they lifted the title.
For FNB UCT:
Tries: Stewart, Klaasen, McDonald, Jones-Davies
For FNB UFS-Shimlas:
Try: J du Toit
FNB UCT: 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Guy Shwikard, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Liam Slatem (captain), 8 Michael Botha, 7 Vince Jobo, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Joel Carew.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Guy Alexander, 19 Kyle Kriel, 20 James Alexander, 21 Martin Sauls, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 David Maasch.
FNB UFS-Shimlas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Maphuta Dolo, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Divandre Strydom, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Justin Pappin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Franco van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Markus Odendaal, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Johan van der Hoogt, 19 Neill Jordaan, 20 Kay-Kay Hlongwane, 21 Francois du Toit, 22 Sethu Tom, 23 Gideon Bruwer.
Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Quinton Immelman