Ikey Flyer – Marcello Sampson – all time Varsity Cup top try scorer (photo P. van As)
A late Marcello Sampson try helped UCT maintain their unbeaten run and wrestle some hard earned points from a solid UJ team, when the Men from Cape Town edged the home side 30-23 in a classic two tries a piece clash in Johannesburg.
The Ikey Tigers were happy to finally have escaped the wind after all previous fixtures had been played on the stormy fields of UCT and in PE. They looked the better team in the first half and also took their opportunities when it mattered after the break in an exciting fixture.
UCT were allowed to run freely from the kick-off and the ensuing 50-metre kick put the visitors ahead within in the first minute. It was big Sean van Tonder who crossed the line first after a great break by Pete Haw and some great interplay in contact. Shortly afterwards however he was yellow carded for a dangrous tackle and UJ worked their was back from a 10:3 deficit with a penalty.
The Ikeys went back on the attack and converted pressure into points with the boot, albeit missing three opportunities.
Controlling the game, the Ikeys Tigers often preferred a kick from the ruck to put pressure on UJ who, when they had the opportunity to run, looked dangerous. But poor options and determined defence by UCT cost the home side who kept trailing on the scoreboard.
UCT led 17-13 at half-time but in the second half, with the penalties marginally less, UJ started to get some good possession and swung the ball wide, looking dangerous on a number of occasions having the visitors defense scramble.
Finally, a drive from a lineout led to a try after 65 minutes by UJ hooker Edgar Marutlulle. It was converted by André Smith to bring the scores level at 23-all in the last quarter and set the stage for a dramatic finish.
UJ had their tails up having fough back, but a poor clearance gave UCT the chance to attack from their own half and wing Marcello Sampson, with a great hand-off and good speed finished some great work by fullback Therlow Pietersen and replacement hooker Matt Paige. Doug Mallett converted with just seven minutes remaining and wrapped thing up for his team.
In the end, the score from Sampson – the leading try-scorer in the history of the Varsity Cup – separated the two sides and handed UCT a fourth win of the season, unbeaten, after having drawn their opening match of 2010 against Shimlas.
For FNB UJ:
Tries: Killian, Marutlulle
Cons: Luus, Smith
Pens: Luus 3
For FNB UCT:
Tries: Van Tonder, Sampson
Pens: Rosslee 5, Mallett
UJ: 15 Earl Lewis, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Clinton de Klerk (captain), 12 Luhan Steenkamp, 11 Lola Waka, 10 Ryno Luus, 9 Jaco ‘Haas’ Snyman, 8 Hennie Killian, 7 Wiehan Roos, 6 JP Janse van Rensburg, 5 Marnus van Huyssteen, 4 Martin Lombard, 3 Clint van Niekerk, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Charl du Plessis.
Replacements: 16 Brett Claassens, 17 JP Olivier, 18 Corné Cordier, 19 Quintin Minnaar, 20 Danny Botha, 21 André Smith, 22 Aubrey McDonald, 23 Jaco Claassen.
UCT Ikey Tigers: 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Pete Haw, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Sean van Tonder, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Stu Commins (captain), 8 JJ Gagiano, 7 Zandi Macdonald, 6 André Goosen, 5 Donovan Armand, 4 Levi Odendaal, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Ash Wells.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Page, 17 Chris Heidberg, 18 Mike Ledwidge, 19 Sam Peter, 20 JP Robert, 21 Douglas Mallett, 22 Mark Esterhuizen, 23 Wesley Chetty.
Referee: Archie Sehlako