The UCT Ikey Tigers beat the wind, a red card and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University with a 36-17 bonus point win to claim the Monte Taljaard Trophy in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
The teams lined up for an emotional minute’s silence for PE boy and UCT flank Monte Taljaard who passed away tragically in a car accident last September. Monte’s parents shook hands with each of bothe team’s players, many of whom they know as friend’s of their sons.
The Ikeys produced five tries in extremely windy conditions and dominated early on to go ahead 19:0. The first try, after 10 minutes, came from center Sean van Tonder who had another stong showing with his center partner Peter Engelbrecht also doing plenty of damage.
UCT dug well into the depth of their squad, making 11 changes to last week’s match against Tuks, but not for a minute did the boys in Blue and White look out of control or lacking cohesion.
Scrumhalf JP Robert got a rare start, as did flyhalf Michael Nel – Robert had a great afternoon, with a perfect service albeit the wind and clinched the Man of the Match award after some sparks of creativity.
The Ikeys ran hard against the wind and quickly added two more tries for the 19:0 through Therlow Pietersen and Dane Johnson who consistently climb up the Varsity Cup’s top try scorer’s list.
But the spirited NMMU riding on the back of last week’s win against TUT, regained some composure and hit back with two late first half tries through backrow-forwards Jaco Swanepoel and Andre Goosen, to make it 19:14 and “game on” for half time.
UCT now had the wind in their back, but the “Madibas” got a boost when UCT lock Michael Passaportis was red carded for foul play early in the half and the visitors found themselves a man down.
NMMU pushed hard and dominated the rattled Ikeys in the scrum, but a long range try by Pieter Engelbrecht put the Ikeys out of reach at 26:14 and calmed the visitor’s nerves.
The Ikeys played the conditions better and every mistake of NMMU – who had to run every ball against the wind, including penalties inside their half and even 22 was punished with a long kick, back into the home team’s half and 22m area. Both teams rang the changes and the match became a bit scrappy, with the conditions deteriorating.
The Ikeys crossed the line last, when Dane Johnson grabbed his second try of the night after the visitor’s used the width of the field twice and created an overlap on the far right with 60 minutes down. NMMU kept trying, but it was UCT fullback Pietersen who after having added the conversion, also kicked a late penalty under the posts for UCT to claim a 36-17 victory.
It was windy and not pretty, especially after the red card, which was a leveller. But the five points were well deserved and the Monte Taljaard Trophy goes to Cape Town – after Monte’s parents handed the Cup to winning captain JJ Gagiano.
Tuks lost for the second week in a row, when they went down to Shimla’s 39:22 – UCT have now moved to second spot in the log.
Con: Laubscher 2
UCT Ikeys Tigers
Tries: van Tonder, Pietersen, Engelbrecht, Johnson 2
Con: Pietersen 4
Red card: Passaportis (41 min, punching)
FNB NMMU: 15 Jade Barkhysen, 14 Wade Roos, 13 Daniel Howitz, 12 Devon Melville, 11 Aluzant Munnik, 10 Willem Laubscher, 9 Lusu Booi, 8 Jaco Swanepoel, 7 Andre Goosen, 6 Morne van der Westhuyzen (captain), 5 Jacques Naude, 4 Luke Beling, 3 Pierre Hammond, 2 Allistiar Langson, 1 Tyron Williams.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Slabbert, 17 Frans van der Walt, 18 Jannie Dourie, 19 January Siyabulela, 20 Neil Weitz, 21 Lalendle Ayabonga, 22 Marius Muller.
FNB UCT: 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Dane Johnson, 13 Pieter Engelbrecht, 12 Sean van Tonder, 11 Marvin Christians, 10 Michael Nel, 9 JP Robert, 8 JJ Gagiano (captain), 7 Kuselo Moyake, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Don Armand, 4 Michael Passaportis, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Mark Goosen, 1 Ashley Wells.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Dylan Rogers, 18 Dane Galley, 19 Michael Morris, 20 Stu Commins, 21 Marcello Sampson, 22 Pete Haw.
Referee: Dilbert November