The weather was unable to dampen the spirits of FNB NWU and FNB UJ at the Fanie du Toit Sports Ground on April 2, where FNB NWU secured their spot in the final after beating FNB UJ 60-31.
FNB UJ opened the scoring with a seven-point try by Ronald Brown. Kobus Engelbrecht managed the conversion, putting FNB UJ 9-0 ahead after just two minutes of play.
Odwa Nkunjana scored FNB UJ’s second seven-point try in five minutes, putting his team 18-0 up in what was one of the most sensational Varsity Cup starts this season.
Louis van der Westhuizen kept FNB NWU’s hopes alive when he found the try line after a mind-blowing run by Tapiwa Mafura. Schalk Hugo slotted the conversion, leaving FNB NWU chasing FNB UJ 18-7 after only 11 minutes of play.
After some impressive mauling by FNB NWU, Mafura scored right under the poles. Hugo managed the conversion, leaving only four points between them with only 15 minutes played.
Hugo scored and converted his own seven-point try, putting FNB NWU ahead 23-21 for the first time in the game after half an hour of play.
FNB NWU continued their domination when Chriswill September dived over the try line. Hugo made no mistake with the conversion, putting FNB NWU 30-24 ahead going into halftime.
FNB NWU who got the second half underway when AK Nela broke through FNB UJ’s defence to score right under the poles. Hugo once again managed the conversion, putting FNB NWU ahead 37-24.
Jan-Louis la Grange scored for FNB UJ and Engelbrecht converted, but FNB UJ were still trailing 37-31.
FNB NWU went even further ahead when Van der Westhuizen scored his second try of the match. Hugo converted the try, leaving FNB UJ chasing FNB NWU 44-31.
Mafura snatched FNB UJ’s lost ball, which led to a sensational seven-point try from Dean Stokes. Hugo managed the conversion once again, with FNB NWU now 53-31 ahead.
FNB NWU put the final nail in FNB UJ’s coffin when Nkosana Mbatha dotted the ball over the try line for another try. Hugo converted the try, and FNB NWU went 60-31 up with three minutes left to play.
The game ended 60-31 to FNB NWU, but FNB UJ has to be commended for their determination and perseverance throughout the entire 80 minutes, not going down without a fight.
Sensational Maties rip Wits to shreds
FNB Maties scored 10 tries in their 65-18 win against FNB Wits at the Danie Craven Stadium to set up a home final against FNB NWU.
By the time kick-off was signalled at the Danie Craven Stadium, FNB NWU had already booked their spot in the 2018 Varsity Cup final. FNB Maties got off to a flyer, scoring in the first minute of the game through prop Neethling Fouché. Chris Smith added the extras for a 7-0 lead early on.
Five minutes later and FNB Maties had doubled their lead via a rolling maul which moved for a good 10 metres before flank Johan van Niekerk dotted down for the home side’s second try.
A third try by the home team prompted the visiting FNB Wits team to call for a Power Play. FNB Wits had kicked aimlessly to the back. The counter-attack, sparked by Edwill van der Merwe resulted in the ball landing into the hands of Chris Smit, who raced to the try line. Flyhalf Smith added the extras and FNB Maties were 21-0 ahead.
The fourth try by Wilmar Arnoldi confirmed not only FNB Maties’ class but also their forward dominance in the opening 20 minutes – dominance they would carry for the full 80 minutes.
With the scoreboard mounting, the frustration was telling from FNB Wits. Lock Conor Brockschmidt was shown a yellow card in the 25th minute for a ruck infringement. Ten minutes later and scrumhalf Ruan Cloete was also sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on. It was while Brockschmidt was in the sin bin that FNB Wits would eventually get onto the board.
Wing Bin Kasende Kapepula raced to the try line for a converted seven-point try. Christian Humphries added the extras, yet, at this point, FNB Maties had amassed 33 points. By half-time FNB Maties had all but confirmed their spot in the final, leading at this stage 40-9.