In my time at UCT while donning the blue and white jumper so close to my heart, I enjoyed a few fairly brutal encounters against the traditional foe down the N2. I never won a senior game against the Maties – not one, and in one Intervarsity match at Newlands, I remember very clearly loosehead prop Pierre Marais making space in a scrum for lock Nico Wegner to come through and land a few prize blows on my forehead while my arms were pinned back (The WP practice on Monday was a decidedly frosty affair!) …
Intervarsity is a tough old game. The Maties pull from a massive pool of talent, traditionally sport a huge pack, are exceptionally well coached, and play a style of rugby that is tough to penetrate. In short, they are always a bloody good side. But never ever did we get taken to the cleaners like the Ikeys did last night … My word, that was a proper hammering!
The Maties, taking tightheads at will via their super impressive scrum, officially ended UCT’s reign as champions in Stellenbosch with a convincing 45-5 victory. And UCT have now gone from defending champions to a team fighting for their survival in the tournament …
Elsewhere Pukke booked themselves a place in the semifinals with a dramatic 34-32 win over UJ, who managed to draw level at 32-32, but could only watch as Pukke flyhalf Gerhard Nortier landed a penalty on the stroke of full-time to seal a valuable victory.
It means that Pukke cannot be caught in fourth place, but next week’s final round of league action – UCT v Tuks; UJ v Maties; Pukke v Shimlas; TUT v NMMU – will confirm the four semifinal fixtures and which team will finish seventh and, thereby, have play a promotion/relegation match against the second-placed Varsity Shield side.
TUT went down 36-56 to Shimlas and will be relegated from the Varsity Cup – in favour of the winning Varsity Shield team – but UCT, NMMU and Shimlas are now fighting not to have to play in the promotion/relegation fixture …
The Varsity Cup log:
Maties 27 points
Shimlas and NMMU (11)
In the Varsity Shield, defending champions CUT bounced back from a run of poor form to rack up a massive 73-8 win over UWC, and Wits were pushed all the way in their 21-12 win over the winless UKZN. As things stand now, CUT top the log ahead of Wits – on points’ difference only – with these two teams likely to contest the final for the second year running.
Monday night’s results:
Shimlas 56 (32) TUT 36 (18)
Maties 45 (29) UCT 5 (5)
Tuks 42 (24) NMMU 31 (10)
Pukke 34 (24) UJ 32 (8)
CUT 73 (28) UWC 8 (0)
Wits 21 (8) UKZN 12 (2)
Varsity Young Guns:
Maties 74 (50) NMMU (0) 0
UFS 87 (50) TUT 20 (7)
After my rant yesterday, it’s great to see that the penalty that handed the Brumbies victory over the Cheetahs on Saturday will be investigated by Sanzar. Lyndon Bray, SANZAR’s refereeing boss, said that three scrum specialists will review that decision as well as two other calls to determine their legitimacy.
Also good to see Bray agreeing with me … ‘Keith may not have been very sharp with the early engagement of the scrums and therefore it wasn’t a pretty sight throughout the game,” said Bray.
It would add to Andre Watson’s credibility if he, like Bray in this instance, were to sometimes agree with some of the criticisms of his referees instead of just blindly defending them …