FNB UCT and FNB NMMU played to a hard-fought 5-5 draw in their 2013 Varsity Cup opener at a very windy Green Mile on Monday evening.
It was Monday night Lights at its very best at varsity with a capacity crowd of over 5000 kicking off the varsity cup season, celebrating their blue and white varsity vibe.
The Ikeys led 5-0 at half-time, with the Madibaz equalising soon after the break. Powerful centre David Ambunya scored the Ikeys’ try, running down the touchline after benefiting from a great pass by flanker Derek Asbun, before the Madibaz hit back early in the second half through a try by No.7 flank Ulrich Pretorius.Two sides scored a try each, ironically whilst both were playing into the wind, with the Ikeys having the ‘honour’ of playing into the gale in the first half and the visitors battling against the wind in the second half.
Both kickers missed the tough conversions against the wind, but Ikeys No.10 Ross Jones-Davies missed a relatively easy penalty in the second half which could have given his side the win.
All told, UCT had the better of the match… especially in the final twenty minutes of the match but the 2011 champions were unable to let the possession stats do the talking for them – despite camping on NMMU’s line in the closing stages of this tense, but low-scoring game.
The draw, which nets both sides two points on the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International log, means that the Madibaz will hang on to the Monte Taljaard Trophy for one more year.
The Monte Taljaard Trophy is played in honour of UCT First XV flanker and Grey PE rugby star Monte Taljaard, who tragically passed away in a car accident in September 2008.
The Madibaz lifted the trophy for the first time last year, winning in PE in dramatic circumstances, with UCT having – up till then – never lost to NMMU in the history of the Varsity Cup.
Of course, this match was refereed by experienced whistleman Jonathan Kaplan, who, after reffing in over 1,000 matches, finally made his Varsity Cup debut in 2013.
For FNB Ikey Tigers:
For FNB NMMU:
Ikey Tigers: 15 Lihleli Xoli, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Liam Bax, 12 David Ambunya, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Ross Jones-Davies, 9 Liam Slatem, 8 Josh Katzen, 7 Derek Asbun, 6 Kyle Kriel, 5 Jacobus Odendaal (captain), 4 James Kilroe, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Digby Webb, 18 Jason Klaasens, 19 Darryl Ndjadila, 20 Rick Schroeder, 21 Nicolas Loizedes, 22 Justin Coles, 23 Oliver Kebble.
NMMU: 15 Jarred Buys, 14 Mayibuye Ndwandwa, 13 Lonwabo Ntleki, 12 Xolani Mnisi, 11 Mthangala Skosana, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Dwayne Kelly, 8 Mrius Oosthuizen, 7 Ulrich Pretorius, 6 Simphiwe Shabangu, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Louis Fourie, 3 Dexter Fahey, 2 Albertus de Swardt, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).
Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Brenden Olivier, 18 Schalk Oelofse, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Lesley-Dean Luiter, 21 Gerhardus Smith, 22 Logan Basson, 23 Elrich Kock.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan