Marcello Sampson was a major dangerman again.
UCT beat the visiting Shimlas by 23:20 in a nailbiter on the Green Mile on Monday night. Shimlas scored first, but UCT came back strongly and would have thought they had the game wrapped until they got a yellow card at a crucial time in the second half and Shilmas got their tails up to score and throw the game wide open again .
The heat wave in the Cape continued and it was still 30C when the two teams ran on at 18.45. There was a bit of wind – always a factor on the Green Mile – but it was nothing compared to the 140mh/h storm that tortured the cyclists who braved the Argus the day before.
Shimlas started with good posession, with the wind in their back, but UCT defended firmly and soon had a great break through Marcelo Sampson after a line-out that saw Tiger Bax getting very close. Shimlas turned over the attack just meters away from their tryline and cleared – on the counter attack it was again Sampson who crossed in the corner, but the ref had ruled a forward pass.
Shimlas used the wind to kick deep and forced a scrum in the UCT 22, after some good work the visitors found a gap in midfield and scored under the posts to make it 7:0 with the extras no problem.
UCT fought back and Shimlas were repeatedly penalised at rucktime in their half, eventually getting a yellow card. Matt Rosslee lined up several kicks against the wind of which two were on target to make it 6:7. The rest of the half UCT had more of the game, but every mistake was punished with a kick helped by the wind, or a counter attack. Both teams put in some telling tackles and UCT must have looked forward to havin the wind in their backs after halftime.
The second fourty started with a bang, UCT received the kick off and attacked down the blindside, racing down the touchline, where it was hooker Dayne “Danger” Jans who crossed in the corner at full flight. The conversion was just wide, the score now 11:7 and the Ikeys in the lead.
Shimlas missed a penalty against the wind, but it was the Ikeys who looked more dangerous, especially out wide. With 25 minutes to go UCT put on the pressure and won a line-out in the visitor’s 22. Some great phases put UCT on the front foot and Matt Rosslee over the line to make it 18:7.
The Tigers now got plenty of fresh legs to help their cause, with half the pack being substituted, but Dayne Galley who had just come on was immediately penalised for a dangerous tackle and found himself in the bin for 10 minutes.
Shimlas added a penalty to their tally, dominated the scrums and forward battles at will and won a number of turn-overs with UCT on the back foot. The guests looked very dangerous attacking off those situations, but their hands let them down twice in what should have been points. They kept pushing and made their extra man count when they scored in the corner to make it 18:15 and were right back in the game with the momentum on their side.
UCT were now visibly nervous, making more mistakes, with the Shimlas defense growing stronger. But the Ikeys struck next when they won a turn over and sent it wide to speedster Marcelo Sampson who covered 40meters, beating his opposition and set up Therlow Pietersen for a fantastic try.
Pietersen who had taken over kicking after Rosslee was subbed and Tiger Bax took over at flyhalf missed the extras, 23:15.
Scrappy play off the kick off had UCT on their back foot yet again and some more scrappy play opened a gap for Shimlas who had the last say to make it 23:20. The conversion was missed, just as the final whistle sounded.
The visitors had nothing to lose and played for an upset and the semi final spot that was still within reach. UCT just did enough to secure four points and will look back at this win as a get out of jail free card.
For UCT Sampson was always dangerous and Bax added some classy touches, but it was again hard working flank Nick Fenton Wells who was named man of the match.
Well done to UCT for taking the points anyway and qualifying for the play offs! UCT have it in their hands to confirm their home semi final with an away win in Potchefstroom next week, they will however forfeit that crucial advantage if they lose by a margin of more than 9 points, with Pukke taking a five pointer.
UCT Tries: Matt Rosslee, Dayne Jans, Therlow Pietersen
Pens/ Cons: Rosslee
UCT Ikey Tigers: 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Dane Johnson, 13 Tiger Bax, 12 Pieter Engelbrecht, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Stuart Commins, 8 JJ Gagiano (captain), 7 Enoch Panya, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Donovan Armand, 4 Michael Passaportis, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Dylan Rogers.
Replacements: 16 Mark Goosen, 17 Ashley Wells, 18 Dane Galley, 19 Kuselo Moyake, 20 JP Robert, 21 Peter Haw, 22 Sean van Tonder.
Head coach: John Dobson
Assistant coach: Robbie Fleck