The injury hit FNB Ikey Tigers played to a 18:13 half-time and 26:26 tie in the final 20, to eventually go down 26-42 to FNB UJ on the Green Mile.
The conditions were near perfect on the Green Mile with minimal wind, 25C and a big crowd of Blue and White supporters. But with captain Levi Odendaal out for the season with an ACL knee injury, Ikeys vs NMMU man of the Match Josh Katzen sidelined, as well as the center pairing of Tiger Bax and Nick Holton, and two starting hookers out injured the Ikeys were always going to be tested against the high flying UJ who came off a good win against NWU Pukke.
The two sides, both of whom played their part in this exciting tussle, were locked at 26-26 as they went into the final strategy break but a try double by FNB UJ captain Justin Wheeler saw the Men in Orange come away with their second win of 2013. The home side delivered a powerful performance up front for most of the match, but they ultimately played themselves off their feet which allowed the visitors to take advantage in the final quarter.
The Ikeys, of course, are still winless – after losing away to defending champions, FNB UP-Tuks, last weekend and drawing 5-5 with the FNB Madibaz in Week One.
The home side drew first blood when hooker Michael Willemse went over the tryline for UCT's first try of the night, with flyhalf Ross Jones-Davies adding the extra three points. Jones-Davies soon made it 10-0 – through a penalty goal – in favour of the 2011 champions.
But UJ bounced back with seconds to go to the first strategy break with a try by their hooker, Malcolm Marx, and a conversion by Kobus de Kock. Soon after the break, UJ attacked again, allowing left-wing Crysander Botha – a Namibian international – to go over in the corner for the visiting team.
The Ikeys were awarded a penalty try just before half-time, thanks to a powerful attacking scrum – after powerful prop Ollie Kebble had come close to scoring himself seconds earlier. Jones-Davies converted and that made the half-time score 18-13 in favour of the Ikeys.
UJ were on song again early in the second half when right-wing JR Esterhuizen claimed a try to make it 18-all.
The Ikeys then hit back when big inside centre David Ambunya ran in under the sticks after good work by Jones-Davies who also converted the five-pointer. It was self same Ambunya who missed a tackle on his opposite number just moments later, when the UJ no12 bounced would be tacklers to crash over to make it 26:26 following the conversion.
It was UJ skipper Justin Wheeler who touched down twice after prolonged UJ pressure in the final quarter to break Ikey hearts – the injury-hit Capetonians having done very well to stay in the match until then, before being denied by their opponents.
For FNB UCT:
Tries: Willemse, Penalty try, Ambunya
Cons: Jones-Davies 3
For FNB UJ:
Tries: Marx, Botha, Esterhuizen, Steenkamp, Wheeler 2
Cons: De Kock 4
UCT: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Dylan Sage, 13 Nicholas Loizides, 12 David Ambunya, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Ross Jones-Davies, 9 Liam Slatem (captain), 8 Bradley Bosman, 7 Ntsolo Setlaba, 6 Kyle Kriel, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Derek Asbun, 17 Digby Webb, 18 Jason Klaasen, 19 Darryl Ndjadila, 20 Rick Schroeder, 21 Paul Cohen, 22 Richard Stewart, 23 Joel Carew.
UJ: 15 Kobus De Kock, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Bradley Moolman, 12 Luan Steenkamp, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Divan van Zyl, 9 Vian van der Watt, 8 RJ Liebenberg, 7 Justin Wheeler (captain), 6 Kobus Porter, 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Wiseman Kamanga.
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Wessel Du Rand, 18 Johan van der Hoog, 19 Philip Marole, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Adriaan Vermeulen, 22 Tommy Damba, 23 Njabulo Mkize.