FNB UCT-Ikeys claimed a nail-biting 40-21 victory over FNB NWU-Pukke in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International in Potchefstroom, in what was a repeat of the 2014 final.
A Jason Klaasen hat trick proved vital as the Cape side claimed their third victory of the competition to launch themselves into third place of the log and relegate their opponents down to fifth.
Ikeys wasted no time in showing their intent as Richard Stewart went on a run after receiving the kick-off. Pukke were penalised for being offside and UCT set-up a five metre line-out. The rolling maul was used and took them within a metre of the try line before it was recycled and found Lihleli Xoli who ran onto the ball and crashed over the try line. Warren Seals added the conversion to hand the visitors an early 8-0 lead after three minutes.
The lead would be reduced to three points two minutes when Pukke captain Jeandre Rudolph emerged with the ball following a well-executed rolling maul from a five-metre line-out. Rhyno Smith failed to add the extra points. Pukke increased their intensity and threw the ball around with supreme confidence. Dillon Smit sent a long pass to a rushing Smith, who blitzed his way through a massive hole in the Ikeys defence and stepped his way past the last defender to grab his sides second try of the match. He picked himself up and snuck in the conversion to hand Pukke a 13-8 lead after 13 minutes.
Ikeys would hit back and regain the lead in the 16th minute when another rolling maul resulted in a try for Mark Prior. Seals added the extra points to take the score to 16-13 after 16 minutes. The high intensity of the match continued after the first Strategy Break with the majority of the play taking place inside Ikeys’ 22.
The visitors managed to work their way up the field and set a maul from a 5 metre line-out. The forwards were unstoppable as they made their way over the line and Jason Klaasen emerged with the ball to grab UCT’s third try of the match. Seals added the extra points to extend the lead to 11 points after 28 minutes.
Pukke went on the offensive and were all over UCT but the visitors stood up to the test and managed to keep their hosts at bay. However, the pressure would be rewarded in the 39th minute when Johan Deysel ran a great line off the back of a ruck to dive over the line. Smith added the extra points to reduce the deficit to three points at the halftime break.
Khanyo Ngcukana bagged the bonus point for the UCT in the 45th minute when latched into a pass from Dylan Sage who stepped his way through the Pukke defence. Seals added the conversion to extend the visitors lead to 11 points. Ikeys remained the dominant side and camped in Pukke’s half of the field but could not add further points to the scoreboard before the second Strategy Break.
UCT remained camped in Pukke’s 22 after the resumption of the game but the home side would launch a counter-attack in the 66th minute when Smit went on a run and gained 60 metres before the home side made their way into UCT’s 22, however, stellar defence by the Cape students kept the home side at bay.
Klaasen got his hat trick and UCT’s fifth of the match in the 79th minute to round off a dominant second half performance by the Cape students. Seals added the conversion to take the score to 40-21.
FNB Player that Rocks: Jason Klaasen
For FNB NWU-Pukke:
Tries: Rudolph, Smith, Deysel
Cons: Smith 2
For FNB UCT-Ikeys:
Tries: Klaasen 3, Ngcukana 2
Cons: Seals 5
Yellow Card: Wilmar Arnoldi (NWU, 78 – repeated infringements)
FNB NWU-Pukke: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Juandre Williams, 13 Rowayne Beukman, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Dean Stokes, 10 Johnny Welthagen, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Jeandre Rudolph (captain), 7 Marno Redelinghuys, 6 Rhyk Welgemoed, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Loftus Morrison, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Wian Fourie, 1 Johan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mogau Mabokela, 18 Daniel Jordaan, 19 Moletsi Bouwer, 20 Malherbe Swart, 21 Dalen Goliath, 22 Johannes Briers, 23 Cayle Denner.
FNB UCT-Ikeys: 15 Khanyo Ngcukana, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Lihleli Xoli, 12 Nicholas Holton, 11 Dylan Sage, 10 Warren Seals, 9 James Alexander, 8 Guy Alexander (captain), 7 Zakeyo Tinotenda, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Mark Prior, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Joel Carew.
Replacements: 16 Michael Kennedy, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Jade Kriel, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Ryand Dugmore, 21 Guy Schwikkard, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 Kyle Whyte.