UCT 32 : 31 NWU Pukke
What a game! It would have been some of the most dramatic 80 minutes of the Varsity
Cup so far and a definite reminder that this is Rugby that Rocks. It was a déjà vu style copy of the first UCT-Pukke match
on the same field, when Pukke was also way ahead at half time, after
having played with the wind in their backs, this time the score was
23:10 after 40 minutes, in favour of the visitors from Potchefstroom.
Two early tries by Puk wing Lolo Waka had
caught the Ikeys napping and one wonders if the boys in blue and white
took a while to find their bearings on their home turf, as the Green
Mile was transformed and jam packed with 7000 spectators, TV and press.
Pukke kept the scoreboard ticking over, effective in open play, with No
13 Paul Bosch being the stand-out for his team. The visitors were physical and dominant in the rucks, flank
Frikkie Maartens always seemed ahead of the UCT backrow in this
department. UCT’s nerves cooled a bit, but their attack was snuffed out
by a determined and well organised defence and a single Matthew Turner
try was all the Ikeys could produce in the first 40 – Matt Rosslee
added a conversion and a penalty to make it 10:23.
In the second half, the Ikeys turned the tide, playing deep inside Pukke territory, but Pukke scored again, seemingly clinching the game as they were now three converted tries ahead. As the Puk defense tired slowly UCT began to put better phases together and it was replacement hooker Mark Goosen who scored from close range after the home-side had the Puk tryline under siege. The conversion was added to make it 17:31.
Now the Ikeys faithful got behind their team, remembering the second half fight back of the first match but they had to stay on their toes until the very last second. Pukke’s defense was still determined forcing plenty of Ikey errors and managing to effetively slow the ball down at rucktime.
UCT’s fresh legs on the park now proved invaluable, replacement centres Sean van Tonder and Tim Whitehead started to get their team some momentum again and it was speedy winger Marcelo Sampson who scored his team’s 3rd try with 10 minutes to go – Rosslee added the difficult conversion. Now, only 24:31 down the UCT students threw everything at their rivals from the north and it was Turner again who crossed in the corner with the desperate defence almost keeping him out, but the TMO confirming the try. It was 29:31 and Rosslee’s conversion from the touchline was just wide.
The final minutes of the game were frantic with both sides not giving an inch and UCT trying to break the PUK defense again and again until a well aimed Rosslee drop goal bounced off the uprights and Puk managed to get out of their half. Finally NWU were penalised at a ruck on their 10m line and the hour of UCT flyhalf Matt Rosslee had come. It was the last play of the game and the tension could be cut with a knife. Cool under pressure the UCT kicker did the job to send the UCT crowd into mayhem. 32:31, history was made.
Unbelievable, the match certainly was the highlight so far in this exciting competition! What a comeback from the young Ikeys, but well done to Pukke who after dominating most of the match and having the UCT supporters more than worried, would have equally deserved their ticket to the finals.
Stellenbosch: As was to be expected after their 31draw in the first match, Maties had an equally tight match vs Tukkies (University of Pretoria), this time it even went into extra time at 44:44. But the Ikeys’ arch rivals made sure it will be an all Cape final on Monday the 7th of April, when they clinched the win with a penalty in the dying minutes – Mates 47:44 Tukkies.
UCT: Tries: Matthew Turner (2), Marcello Sampson, Mark Goosen. Conversions: Matthew Rosslee (3). Penalties: Rosslee (2).
Pukke: Tries: Lolo Waka (2), Jean Tiedt. Conversions: Tiedt (2). Penalties: Jean Tiedt (4).
Ikeys: 1 Herbert Mayosi 2 JP Koster,
3 Dylan Rogers, 4 Michael Ledwidge, 5 Martin Muller, 6 Enoch Panya, 7 Mzoi Simani, 8 Jonathan
Gagiano (C), 9 Danie van der Merwe, 10 Matthew Rosslee, 11 Marcello Sampson; 12 Pieter Engelbrecht,
13 James Martin, 14 Matthew Turner, 15 Peter Haw;
Replacements: Mark Goosen,
Wesley Chetty, Dane Galley, Kyle Brown, Kyle Wickins, Tim Whitehead,
Sean van Tonder
Jean Tiedt; Willem Barnard, Paul Bosch, Wouter Watermeyer, Lolo Waqa;
Devan Eckardt, Andries Mahoney; Willem van der Wal (C), Thabo Molete,
Frikkie Maartens, Markus Fourie, Grant le Roux, Flippie Pienaar,
Stoffel Duvenhage, Jaco Koch.
Replacements: BG Uys, Renier Harmse, Dirco
Rautenbach, Wayne Wilschutt, Nelis Nel, Marcel du Toit, Marco Jansen.