FNB Maties are still unbeaten following their hard-fought 37-15 victory over FNB Ikeys in the Cape derby played on the Green Mile on Monday.
The atmosphere was phenomenal on the Green Mile with many Maties students having made the trip to UCT to add to a packed and noisy audience in what was – at least for 70 minutes a nail biting contest. While Maties are sitting pretty at the top of the Varsity Cup standings, UCT though competitive are still without a victory this season.
The scoreline may suggest otherwise, but the Ikeys were never outplayed and with a telling Tiger Bax break on the 22m should have scored to pull ahead 23:21, but it was not meant to be and in true fashion Maties scored on the other end and added a late intercept try to further inflate the scoreline.
The visitors wasted little time in putting UCT under pressure and spent the first five minutes of the game camped in Ikeys territory, with hooker Neethling Gericke going over for the opening try from a driving maul.
The home side suffered a blow soon afterwards when captain Liam Slatem was shown a yellow card for repeated infringements by his side, but UCT showed good commitment on defence to hold the 0:5 score until the first strategy break.
Ikeys got on the board with a penalty from fullback Ross Jones-Davies and were boosted by the return of Slatem, but Maties hit back with another try from Gericke from a rolling maul which was a carbon copy of his first.
The touchline conversion from Dean Grant stretched their advantage to 13-2, but UCT responded with a try of their own when Bradley Bosman forced his way over in the corner after some good work from lock James Kilroe from an attacking line-out.
Jones-Davies landed the tough conversion and UCT went into the half-time break trailing 13-10 in the sweltering conditions.
UCT started the second half with real intent, forcing Maties onto the back foot, and it paid off when Tiger Bax went over for the try to give them a 15:13 lead.
However, they did not have it for long as Maties took the advantage straight back through a classy individual effort from centre Ryan Nell.
After winning a turnover deep in their own half the ball was spun out to Nell who kicked ahead and showed plenty of speed and awareness to collect it and finish the try that put his side 21-15 ahead.
Now it was UCT's time to push for points and the silky Dillyn Leyds put try scorer Bax into a wondeful gap on the Maties 22m line. Bax with only the fullback to beat slipped and did not get the pass away for a certain try. UCT got awarded a penalty and opted for a scrum and attacked wide where they got within inches of the Maties line until the ball was knocked on and Maties hoofed it out of their danger zone. This was the crucial moment of the game – the pressure that should have been converted a 23:21 UCT lead, turned into Maties closing off the game.
The Stellenbosch side secured possession and rumbled on until flank Beyers de Villiers barged past a tiring UCT defence to score under the poles and extend their advantage to 29-15 and a bonus point.
A late intercept try from replacement wing JP Lewis inflated the scoreline further as he cruised over to make it 37-15 as Maties wrapped up a comfortable victory.
UCT are left asking themselves many questions with so little to show after several close matches and are sitting in an awkward 7th place, while resurgent NMMU Madibaz (UCT's 5:5 draw in round one) were able to record narrow wins against Shimlas and UJ at home to move into semi final contention for the first time.
The crowds at varsity however are never disappointed by the Tigers' heart and commitment and are out in full force supporting their side with fantastic energy and UCT spirit. See some photos here: http://www.facebook.com/ikey.tiger/photos_albums
For FNB UCT:
Tries: Bosman, Bax
For FNB Maties:
Tries: Gericke 2, Nell, De Villers, Lewis
Cons: Grant 4
UCT: 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Dylan Sage, 13 David Ambunya, 12 Liam Bax, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dillyn Leyds, 9 Liam Slatem (captain), 8 Bradley Bosman, 7 Ntsolo Setlaba, 6 Derek Asbun, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Kyle Kriel, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Johannes de Klerk, 19 Jason Klaasen, 20 Rick Schroeder, 21 Richard Stewart, 22 Paul Cohen, 23 Digby Webb.
Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Clearance Khumalo, 13 Mark Hodgkiss, 12 Ryan Nell, 11 Dean Hammond, 10 Dean Grant, 9 James Alexander, 8 Helmut Lehmann (captain), 7 Lungelo Chonco, 6 Beyers de Villers, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Os Hamman, 2 Neethling Gericke, 1 Alister Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Charl de Villiers, 17 Hein van der Merwe, 18 Jurie van Vuuren, 19 Nicholas de Jager, 20 Andries Truter, 21 JH Potgieter, 22 JP Lewis, 23 Brendan Pitzer.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuize