UCT’s Therlow Pietersen drew first blood with a try two minutes into the game, as the SA Universities romped to a 72-14 victory over a committed Collegiate All-Americans team at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Wednesday evening.
UJ Fullback Earl Lewis and winger Clayton Blommetjies (two tries) scored five of their team’s 11 tries on the night, as the South African Universities showed impressive skills and control – despite having to battle with tricky weather conditions at times.
UCT’s Therlow Pietersen, playing at centre for the SA team, opened the scoring in the second minute with a well-taken try. Pietersen’s try was not converted by scrumhalf Donald Stevens, but the tourists suffered a double blow when second row Cameron Dolan was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle.
Donald then opened his account with a seventh-minute penalty, before the All-Americans got on the scoreboard via flyhalf Keegan Engelbrecht’s first penalty in the ninth minute.
An 8-3 lead soon became a 13-3 advantage when Lewis showed some smart footwork in the 11th minute and nipped over for his first try, but the Americans hit back just a few minutes later when winger Blaine Scully crashed over for his team’s only try of the night to make it 13-8.
That, however, was the closest the All-Americans would come to the SA Universities side, as they stretched their lead to 41-11 at half-time – thanks to a total of six first-half tries, four of which were converted by Stevens, who found his radar after missing his first two conversions.
The visitors were first on the scoreboard in the second half, via another Engelbrecht penalty goal, but the SA Universities answered back through Blommetjies’ second try in the 51st minute – Stevens, again, adding the extra points.
Flyhalf André Smith put himself amongst the try-scorers on the 60-minute mark, before substitutes Marlin Ruiters and Jonathan Adendorf combined to put the Men from SA ahead by 67-14.
With Stevens off the field – he was replaced by Ruiters at No.9 – Lewis took over the kicking duties and calmly converted Ruiters and Adendorf’s tries, before putting the finishing touches to his near-faultless display with his third and final try in the 78th minute.
Unfortunately for Lewis he failed with his final conversion attempt, but by then the SA Universities team had more than done enough to come away with a comprehensive victory.
“I’m obviously happy with the final scoreline, but there’s still a bit we can work on ahead of the weekend’s return match at Newlands,” said SA Universities head coach Chean Roux afterwards.
“The guys were keen though and I can’t ask for more, although I have no doubt we can make some improvements in certain aspects of our play and execution come Saturday.”
Saturday’s second match between the SA Universities and Collegiate All-Americans teams will take place at Newlands – in Cape Town – and will serve as the curtain-raiser to the South Africa versus Australia Tri-Nations match. (Kick-off 3pm.)
For SA Universities:
Tries: Pietersen, Lewis 3, Wilkins, Stevens, Blommetjies 2, Smith, Ruiters, Adendorf
Cons: Stevens 5, Lewis 2
For Collegiate All-Americans:
Pens: Engelbrecht 3
Yellow card: Cameron Dolan (Collegiate All-Americans, 2nd minute)
SA Universities: 15 Earl Lewis (UJ), 14 Clayton Blommetjies (Tuks), 13 Therlow Pietersen (UCT), 12 Matthew Rosslee (UCT), 11 Ziniko Dumaphi (Fort Hare), 10 André Smith (UJ),
9 Donald Stevens (Maties), 8 Willem van der Wal (Pukke – captain), 7 Sokana Mokana (Fort Hare), 6 Wesley Wilkins (Maties), 5 Martin Muller (UCT), 4 Jaco Nepgen (Maties), 3 Pierre Hammond (NMMU), 2 Stoffel Duvenhage (Pukke), 1 BG Uys (Pukke).
Replacements: 16 Edgar Maruthule (UJ), 17 Rob Andrew (UJ), 18 Lourens Adriaanse (Maties), 19 Jonathan Adendorf (Maties), 20 Marlin Ruiters (Shimlas), 21 Morné Jooste (Maties), 22 Tim Whitehead (UCT).
Collegiate All-Americans: 15 Colin Hawley (California – captain), 14 Blaine Scully (California), 13 Dylan Lubbe (Brigham Young University), 12 Duncan Kelm (San Diego State University), 11 Dustin Muhn (California), 10 Keegan Engelbrecht (California), 9 Benny Matealonia (Life University), 8 Steve St Pierre (Brigham Young University), 7 Eddie McKenna (Cal-State Dominguez Hills), 6 Roland Evans (Arkansas State University), 5 Casey Rock (Metro State College), 4 Cameron Dolan (Life University), 3 Ross Silverman (University of California-Santa Barbara), 2 Joey Brown (Mesa College), 1 Mike Shephard (Indiana University).
Replacements: 16 Mike Su’a (Brigham Young University), 17 Nardus Wessels (Arkansas State University), 18 Tom Katzfey (St Norbert College), 19 Chris Parker (Texas A&M), 20 Tom Pasque (University of Colorado), 21 Brendam O’Meara (St Mary’s College), 22 Aaron McMasters (Life University).
Venue: Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
Referee:Lourens van der Merwe