College reach first final

The PUK Rugby Institute and College Rovers will meet in the final of the National Club Championship on Saturday.

College Rovers qualified with a disciplined 39-13 win over Welkom Rovers, whilst Pukke, after drawing 16-all with Shimlas, advanced for having scored more points in the second half as stipulated in the tournament rules. Pukke won the national title in 2004. It will be Rovers first-ever appearance in the final.

The Plate Final will be contested between the reigning Club champions Maties and Nelson Mandela Metro University. In the Plate semi-finals, Maties finally came good to record a 58-26 win over Brakpan while NMMU won 28-6 against Hartswater.

Pukke (6) 16 vs Shimlas (10) 16

Pukke played another “get out of jail card” when they advanced to the final on the basis of having scored more points than Shimlas in the second half at the end of a 16-all stalemate. In their opening match they also scored in the final minute to deny Nelson Mandela Metro University a suprise win.

The hero for Pukke was fullback Riaan Smit who scored all of his side’s points and whose try in the final minute proved decisive. It was a scrappy and ill-tempered affair that saw three players from each side yellow-carded.

Shimlas enjoyed the better share of possession in a tight first 40 minutes and took a slim 10-6 lead into the break. Pukke made a change at flyhalf just before halftime which gave them better fluidity, but they remained frustrated by an organized Shimlas defence.

The two sides traded penalties early in the second half and Shimlas added another midway through to move the score to 16-9.

Matters intensified as the match entered it final quarter resulting in the ref reaching for his pocket at regular intervals.

Pukke, enjoying more possession, ran everything at Shimlas in a thrilling last eight minutes and they were rewarded when Smit succeeded in wrong-footing the cover defence for the golden try. The fullback held his nerve to kick a difficult conversion and put his side through to the final.

Scorers:Pukke: Tries by Riaan Smit. Conversion: Smit. Penalties: Smit (3).
Shimlas: Try by Dries van Schalkwyk. Conversion: Jacques Claassen.
Penalties: Jacques Claassen (3)

College Rovers (26) 39 vs Welkom Rovers (8) 13

College Rovers qualified for their first ever National Club Championship final with a controlled Cup semi-final performance against Welkom Rovers.

The KZN Club champions made full use of their chances in the first half, scoring three well worked tries – two by winger Ryan Hartslief – to leave Welkom reeling at 8-26 at the change.

College Rovers put their back row to good use at the breakdown and were able to stymie Welkom in a phase of play where they had dominated in their earlier games.

Welkom looked more determined in the second half and added to their tally after 16 minutes with a second try, reducing the deficit to 13.

But as the game entered its final quarter, College Rovers stood firm, showing aggression in the tackle and forcing their opponents into mistakes.

After adding another penalty, College Rovers turned over possession in their own half to put Hartslief into space on the right.

The winger kept his cool, chipping the fullback and diving on the ball for his hat-trick. Flyhalf Guy Ranger who contributed 17 points with the boot added a penalty in the 38th minute to round of a deserved win for the KZN side.

Scorers: College Rovers: Tries by Ryan Hartslief (3) and Wesley Bodmer.
Conversions: Guy Ranger and Bodmer. Penalties: Ranger (5). Welkom Rovers:
Tries by Japie Nel and Johnny Fourie. Penalty: Flippie Mouton

Plate semi-finals

Nelson Mandela Metro University (7) 28 vs Hartswater (3) 6
After a tight first half, Nelson Mandela Metro University upped the tempo in the final 25 minutes to register a comfortable win over Hartswater and confirm their place in the Plate final.

The teams changed sides at 7-3 after a first half that was characterized by the stern resistance of a gritty Hartswater side.

The men from the Northern Cape closed down space effectively to prevent the NMMU back three launching their customary counter attacks.

Hartswater narrowed the gap to a single point shortly after the break but they looked jaded in the final quarter, allowing NMMU to add three more tries to their tally, one of them a penalty try. NMMU are deserved finalists after having played some sparkling rugby so far this week.

Scorers: NMMU: Tries by Ryan le Roux, Joe Pringle, Michael van Huysteen and Penalty try. Conversions: Andrew Martin (4) Hartswater: Penalties: Johan van Niekerk (2)

Maties (36) 58 vs Brakpan (12) 26

A three-try blitz in the opening 12 minutes followed by a further three in the first half set Maties up for an emphatic win over Brakpan. After holding a healthy halftime lead, Maties kept up the pressure in the final 40 minutes to run in a further four tries for a final tally of ten to Brakpan’s four.

Maties played the type of rugby that had taken them to the WP Super League title and the seemingly weary Brakpan side offered little resistance when the hosts got into their stride. After laying a solid forward foundation, Maties were able to bring their backs into play and punch holes in Brakpan’s midfield defences. The win puts Maties into the Plate final where they will face NMM University.

Scorers: Maties: Tries by Dwain Brown (2), Pieter Stoffberg, Gus Theron, Wilhelm Koch, Bertho vd Westhuizen, Michael Laubscher, Arno White, Louis du Plessis and Gordon Pangeti. Conversions: Henoe Stoffberg (4). Brakpan: Tries by De Wet Nortje, Jacques Booysens, Francoi Uys and Shone vd Walt.
Conversions: Disney Evans (2), Nortje.

Other matches:

University of Jhb (22) 35 vs Cambridge (20) 30

The University of Jhb ended the event on a positive note, winning an entertaining clash against one of the tournament’s surprise packages, Cambridge. UJ scored five tries to three with wing Andre Botha getting a brace and flyhalf Arno Coetzee getting a “full house” of a try, two conversions,a penalty and a drop goal to contribute 15 points for his team.

Despite losing two out of their three matches, Cambridge can hold their heads high after bringing a breath of fresh air to the tournament.

Scorers: UJ: Tries by Andre Botha(2), Arno Coetzee, Jaque Coetzee and Hannes Botha. Conversions: Arno Coetzee (2), Penalty: Coetzee, Drop Goal: Coetzee.
Cambridge: Tries by Nick Johnson, Biza Majokweni and Siza Dwang.
Conversions: Alec Stander (3). Penalties: Stander (3)

Pretoria Police (22) 56 vs Progress (20) 41

Progress, who captured the imagination with their shock first round defeat of champions Maties, gave there all but did not have enough left in the tank to overcome Pretoria Police in their final match.

Police scored seven tries to six with exciting fullback Derik Botha weighing in with a hat-trick and adding two conversions to finish with a personal tally of 19 points.

Flyhalf Pierre van Wyk, around whom much of the Police game plan was built, contributed 17 points with the boot. Centre Christo Memanie ran in four tries to take his tally for the tournament to seven. The invited side played their exciting brand of running rugby to leave an indelible impression on the event.

Scorers: Police: Tries by Derik Botha (3), Heinrich Rademeyer, Juan Rossouw, George Coetzee, Gert Booyse. Conversions: Pierre van Wyk (4), Derik Botha (2). Penalties: van Wyk (3). Progress: Tries by Christo Memanie (4), Farouk Caesar, Thamsanqa Madlwabinga. Conversions: Aluzant Munnik (2), Clayton Gawie (2). Penalty: Munnik.

Jaguars (31) 48 vs Nelspruit (17) 22

Jaguars ended the championships on a high note with a deserved win over Nelspruit, who go home without a win under their belts.

It was a sweet victory for the invited side from KZN, who narrowly lost to Cup semi-finalists Welkom Rovers in their opening match and gave Maties a run for their money on Tuesday.

Jaguars were dominant throughout against a Nelspruit side that was clearly out of its depth at this level. Centre Zuko Kondile ran in a hat-trick of tries and also kicked a conversion to finish with a personal haul of 17 points.

Flyhalf Lohane Kiewiet scored a try and kicked three conversions and a penalty, contributing 13 points to his side’s cause. Nelspruit were outscored by seven tries to four in a largely one-sided affair.

Scorers: Jaguars: Tries by Zuko Kondile (3), Theo Rhodes, Lohane Kiewiet, Kyle Williamson and Dusty Noble. Conversions: Kiewiet (3), Kondile, Noble.
Penalty: Kiewiet. Nelspruit: Tries by Pieter Prinsloo, Juan Coetzee, Michael de Bruyn and Johan Lotter. Conversion: Grant Vos.

Roses Utd (7) 43 vs Bridgeton (12) 12

Roses United reversed a 5-point half-time deficit to record a deserved win over Bridgeton in their final match of the event. Bridgeton were left scoreless in the second half as Roses eventually found their rhythm and began to string some passes together.

With rovers controlling play, the game finished with a flurry as super-sub Alvin Hugo showed great skills to run in a hat-trick of tries. Roses end with a tally of seven tries to two which confirms their domination over a brave Bridgeton combination.

Scorers: Roses Utd: Tries by Alrich Muller, Jonathan Schalkwyk, Deon Williams, Ignatius Korabie and Alvin Hugo (3).
Conversions: Earl Manie (3), Mervin Manus. Bridgeton: Tries by Christo Delport and Kevin Pikaan.
Conversion: Anthony Piedt.

Saturday’s Fixtures

11h30 – Plate Final: Nelson Mandela Metro University vs Maties

13h00 – Cup Final: Pukke vs College Rovers

• Both matches will be televised live on SABC 2 between 11h00 and 15h00.