The Ikey Tigers were rampant in their impressive 49-12 victory over the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in their Varsity Cup – and Monte Taljaard Trophy – fixture in front of an impressive and vocal home crowd.
NMMU started strongly, keeping the ball with their tight forwards and choosing not to kick into the wind, however, their discipline let them down – conceding kickable penalties for cynical fouls committed at the breakdown.
UCT flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis – who has been so impressive in recent weeks – was happy to oblige with the boot with the wind at his back and quickly had the Ikey Tigers leading 9-0.
The first try of the game was scored by NMMU, after an attacking lineout inside the UCT 22-metre line, scrumhalf Shannon Rick darted round the fringes to score making the score (9-5).
Having a try scored against them seemed to be the wake up call that UCT needed, as they quickly struck back through lock Eben Etzebeth, who was having a storming match.
There were more problems for NMMU as they lost their flyhalf Marius Muller through injury, with Bradley Kretzmann taking over at pivot inside the first 20 minutes.
There was time for one more try before half-time, as Ikeys fullback Ricky Rijs timed his run perfectly, joining the UCT backline at pace and breaking through a gaping hole in the NMMU defence to score – making it 27-5 going into the break.
The second half was one-way traffic as the NMMU spirited defence was stretched time and again a brilliant break down the touchline by experienced Tigers wing Pete Haw set up an opportunity for prop Francois van Wyk to drive over and score UCT’s third try.
There was another try almost immediately as the floodgates broke open and scrumhalf Nic Groom – who recently played for the Stormers in a pre-season encounter – sniped round the side of a ruck to score a typically cheeky scrumhalf try.
The Ikeys continued to grow in confidence and kept the ball in hand brilliantly, with the forwards opting to pick and go, thereby carrying play into the NMMU half before the ball was spread wide and nippy centre Therlow Pietersen went round the outside of his marker to score in the corner making it 44-5.
With the game just about over as a contest, the home side emptied their bench onto the field for the final quarter and the replacements looked eager to prove their worth to the coaching team.
UCT piled on the pressure close to the NMMU tryline and after going through several phases flank Zandy Macdonald was unmarked out wide and went over for the sixth Tigers try of the match.
The match deteriorated and become error-ridden in the closing minutes, before NMMU prop Dexter Seanancy unexpectedly broke through a giant hole and had flank Ferdinand Gerber on his shoulder to go over for a well-deserved try, albeit only a consolation in a one-sided affair.
Last year’s runners-up UCT will come away pleased with their dominant performance, with Nic Groom earning himself the Man of the Match Award on his 21st birthday for an outstanding display of crisp passing and cool decision-making.
For FNB UCT:
Tries: Etzebeth, Rijs, Van Wyk, Groom, Pietersen, Macdonald
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 5
For FNB NMMU:
Tries: Rick, Gerber
UCT: 15 Ricky Rijs, 14 Pete Haw, 13 Therlow Pietersen, 12 Adrian Kritzinger, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Greg Mallett, 7 Nick Fenton-Wells (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Matt Page, 1 Wes Chetty.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Don Armand, 19 Zandy Macdonald, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Nick Holton, 22 Sabelo Siyakatshana, 23 Pete Olivier.
NMMU: 15 Vuyolethu Mazaka, 14 Juan du Preez, 13 Wade Roos, 12 Hlangoluhle Nodongwe, 11 Makholokoe Ramashala, 10 Marius Muller, 9 Shannon Rick, 8 Jaco Swanepoel, 7 André Goosen, 6 Ferdinand Gerber, 5 Mzwande Zito, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Musa Tukela, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Dexter Seanancy.
Replacements: 16 Lumka Mbane, 17 Ross David-Anderson, 18 Louis Fourie, 19 Philip Hanekom, 20 Marlin Ruiters, 21 Bradley Kretzmann, 22 Charl van Loggenberg, 23 Andile Mrwebi.
Referee: Rasta Rashivenga