UJ 31:34 UCT
The University of Cape Town (UCT) made sure the drama continued in the inaugural FNB Varsity Cup, with the Ikeys recording a last-gasp 34-31 win over the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Monday. Ikeys flyhalf Matt Rosslee slotted a penalty virtually at full-time to secure his team’s win, the visitors from the Cape having fought back from 3-24 down at half-time, whilst also overturning a 17-31 second-half deficit.
Rosslee converted all four of UCT’s second-half tries – one of which he scored himself – as the young Ikeys moved into first place on the Varsity Cup log after Maties went down 24-31 to NWU Pukke, also on Monday evening.
The UJ-UCT match started at quite a frenetic pace in front of a sparse crowd; with the visitors taking a 3-0 lead after seven minutes through a Rosslee penalty. UJ opened their scoring through fullback Ryno Luus’ boot in the 13th minute, before taking the lead just four minutes later with an Andre Smith drop-goal.
Two first-half tries from UJ scrumhalf Jaco Snyman saw his team into a commanding 24-3 half-time lead, but they did not count on this plucky UCT outfit staging a memorable comeback, despite also having a man in the sin bin – scrumhalf Danie van der Merwe – at the start of the second half.
Replacement No.9 Kyle Wickens nipped over for UCT’s first try in the 57th minute, followed by Rosslee just four minutes later, but UJ hit back immediately with their third try – through flyhalf Smith – to stretch their lead to fourteen points.
At 17-31 down, and playing at altitude, UCT could easily have let things slip, but the visitors kept ball in hand and forced UJ into making tackles out wide as they continued to use the width of the pitch. Some of those tackles were missed and UCT took full advantage, running in two tries in 10 minutes through winger Marcello Sampson.
Rosslee converted both of Sampson’s tries to draw his team level at 31-31, before coolly stroking over the winning penalty from close-range. There were a few nervous moments before full-time, but the young Ikeys were elated when the hooter finally sounded at the UJ Stadium – handing them a victory that has put them one step closer to a possible semi-final place.
Ikeys head coach John Dobson was proud of his charges afterwards, saying: “The guys showed enormous character to fight back like they did – it was a fantastic effort in the second half.
“Despite being 21 points down at half-time I knew we weren’t out of it, but we needed to make our possession count [in the second half]. We could easily have lost it again at 17-31, but the guys stuck to it and did themselves proud in the process.”
UCT’s next Varsity Cup match is against TUT, away, on Monday, March 10.
Tries: Marcello Sampson 2, Kyle Wickens, Matthew Rosslee
Cons: Rosslee 4
Pens: Rosslee 2
1 Herbert Mayosi, 2 JP Koster, 3 Dylan Rogers, 4 Mike Ledwige, 5 Martin Miller, 6 Luzuko Panya, 7 Craig Kleu, 8 JJ Gagiano (captain)
9 Danie van der Merwe, 10 Matthew Rosslee, 11 Marvin Christians, 12 Pieter Engelbrecht, 13 James Martin, 14 Rob Hopwood, 15 Matt Turner
Reserves: Mark Goosen, Wes Chetty, Dayne Galley, Kyle Brown, Kyle Wickens, Pete Haw, Marcello Sampson