A roundup of results, match reports and try scorers from Round 1 of the 2013 Varsity Cup:
Varsity Cup got off to a pretty spicy start on Monday evening with defending champions Tuks going down to Pukke in Potchefstroom and the Madibaz holding the Ikeys to a draw in a hurricane like Cape Town.
Maties 29 – 8 UJ
Maties: Tries: Khumalo, Hugo, Lewis 2, Cons: Potgieter 2, Grant
UJ: Try: Le Roux, Con: De Kock
Pukke 26 – 23 Tuks
Pukke: Tries: Labuschagne, Strydom, Dreyer, Cons: Nortier 3,Pen: Nortier
Tuks: Tries: Willis, Nortier, Tobias, Skosan,Con: Schoeman
Ikeys 5 – 5 NMMU
UCT: Try: Ambunya
NMMU: Try: Pretorius
Wits 7 – 61 Shimlas
Wits: Try: Erasmus, Pen: Fosita
Shimlas: Tries: Ngoza, van der Merwe, Luiters 2, Deysel, Du Toit, Hlongwane, Du Toit, Cons: Du Toit 7
Pukke dominated the early exchanges, scoring three tries on their way to a comfortable 24-0 advantage at half-time, but Tuks showed the kind of fighting spirit that won them the title last year to claw their way back into the game and score four tries of their own in the second half. Despite the fight-back, Pukke managed to hold the Pretoria boys off in a tense finish which saw both sides throw the kitchen sink at each other.
In the 17h00 game, Maties got their campaign off to a solid start with a hugely wind affected second-half comeback against UJ in front of a record-breaking crowd at the Danie Craven Stadium. With the biggest crowd ever assembled for an afternoon match in Varsity Cup history in attendance, Maties used the wind wisely, scoring four unanswered tries after half-time to claim a 29-8 bonus point victory.
UCT and NMMU cancelled each other out as they battled to a 5-5 draw in their Monte Taljaard trophy encounter at a particularly windy Green Mile. The Madibaz had the wind in the first half, but it was the Ikeys who took a 5-0 lead into the break. Looking like a “20 point wind”, this is a game the home side should have won, but the visitors showed great character, held onto the ball well, defended like men possessed, to come up with a try of their own and hold the Tigers to a draw. It was not a pretty game of rugby by any stretch of the imagination.
New boys Wits were given a tough initiation, going down 61-7 to a rampant Shimlas side in front of their home fans in Johannesburg. The Free State side scored four tries in each half to take top spot on the log, whilst last year’s Varsity Shield champions were left with no doubt about the quality of opposition they will face in their debut season.
In the Varsity Shield Fort Hare scored a bonus-point try at the death to seal a 32-6 victory over former TUT in Alice. The loss leaves them red faced and without a win in their first three matches. In the other game UKZN suffered their first defeat of the season when they went down 26-12 to CUT, who top the log as the only unbeaten team.