Stellenbosch 42:40 UCT
A tremendous team effort by UCT more than tested newly crowned SA club champions Maties and hadn’t it been for a try and a penalty in the dying minutes the proud Ikey Tigers would havewalked away deserved winners. Several thousand Ikeys and Maties supporters in the stands certainly were up to the Intervarsity challenge and provided a worthy stage for the clash of the two rivals.
What a pulsating match it was – the scoreline speaks for itself – but it looked for all intents and purposes a game that was over before the first ten minutes had been played. Maties obviously bristling with confidence and needing only one league point to secure the Western Province league victory, raced to a 12-0 lead, a slipped tackle in midfield, and a push over try from a line-out, made it look as though the UCT team, was well beaten in the backline and forwards.
However in all derby games, one team has to be far superior to be able to run away with it, and this proved to be the case, as UCT rallied well and struck back almost immediately with two very well worked backline tries of their own. A very well chased down kick by Kevin Foote, and a scintillating break through the backline by James Richards, who then dotted down. The score being 12-14 to UCT with little over 20 minutes having been played.
The game then settled down, with both teams playing highly attractive and entertaining rugby. Both sides looking to move the ball wide at all opportunities, allowing for this facet of the game to be the corner stone of this classic derby match. Both sides traded penalties, and another try a piece, UCT’s try coming from a Maties lineout that had been well contested and stolen by Bodo Sieber, with the quick turn-over ball opening up the space for the UCT backline. Going in to the half time break the only score that separated the two teams was a well worked try by the Maties backline that allowed for J.P Pietersen to canter over on the overlap in the corner – 26:21 with all to play for.
The second half started in a far more controlled fashion than the first, with UCT looking to control possession, and the Maties looking rather fatigued as they looked to kick for field possession. As it turned out the UCT game plan allowed them to gain some sort of ascendancy, looking after the ball well, and playing much of the early part of the second half in Matie territory. UCT by controlling the ball opened their account in the second half with a well converted try scored by replacement wing Peter Haw in the corner. With that score UCT looked to be taking further control of the derby, with flyhalf Gareth Wright who had a vintage BMT performance landing two impressive long range drop goals to take the game further away from the club champions.
With the Ikeys 32-40 up with 5 minutes to play the game looked all but won for the young UCT side who had certainly proved a point in terms of being able to more than match their counterparts in terms of high quality rugby. However as has been indicative of the entire UCT season, they seemed to just relax ever so slightly, and against quality opposition as this it proved costly. The Maties team came back strongly, after looking all but dead and buried they bounced back quickly with a very long range attack. J.P Pietersens scoring after he ran a quick penalty from deep in his own half to cut the defence to shreds and score close to the uprights. This last try put Maties within 1 point of UCT, and with the tide turning and two minutes to go the referee seemed to lose his nerve and awarded two dubious penalties to the Maties, one of which was kicked over for a 42-40 score-line that was in favour of the hosts. With the final whistle blown shortly after, it was a case of déjà vu – another missed opportunity, but well done to the Ikey Tigers for this outstanding performance!
UCT: 1 Vakai Reserves:
(Photos: Andrew Dell)