Ikeys the comeback kings

UCT scored 22 unanswered points to beat Pukke 32-31 in a thrilling match, sneaking into the final of the Varsity Cup.

NWU-Pukke stormed into a 31-10 lead with 16 minutes of the match remaining, but three tries from Ikeys and a last-minute 45m penalty from flyhalf Matthew Rosslee gave them a thrilling win. UCT looked dead and buried early in the second half but the quick pace of the game played into their hands as they grew stronger and stronger throughout the match.

Pukke scored two tries in the opening five minutes from wing Lolo Waka as they flew to a 14-0 lead. UCT replied with a try of their own through wing Mathew Turner with their first phases of possession, but the rest of the half was dominated by the visitors from Potch. Fullback Jean Tiedt kicked four penalties either side of penalty – all won through Pukke’s dominance at the ruck – and scored a try to give them what seemed an unassailable 21 point lead.

But Ikeys virtually had all the ball in the final quarter and they loosened up the game to their advantage, and tries from replacement hooker Mark Goosen, wing Marcello Sampson and Turner made the dream comeback a possibility. Rosslee then stepped up to kick the penalty with final kick of the game, and it never looked like missing from the time it left his boot.

UCT will either face Maties or Tukkies in Cape Town next Monday and they will need to work on their defence as well as securing the ball at the breakdown if they wish to claim the inaugural Varsity Cup.

UCT – Tries: Mathew Turner (2), Marcello Sampson, Mark Goosen. Penalties: Matthew Rosslee (2). Conversions: Rosslee (3).

Pukke – Tries: Lolo Waka (2), Jean Tiedt. Penalties: Tiedt (4). Conversions: Tiedt (2)

In another high-scoring thriller, Stellenbosch beat Tukkies 47-44 after 20 minutes of extra-time.

Maties ensured the final will be a Western province derby with a Henoe Stoffberg penalty in the 98th minute of playing time. Tukkies had earlier forced the game into extra-time with a try from winger Oscar Mfundise and conversion from scrumhalf Joey Mongalo in the last minute of regulation time, but at the end this proved insufficient. They also outscored Maties by five tries to two in the second half which would have been enough for a place in the final according to the competition rules, but the controversial late penalty sealed their fate.

Maties – Tries: Jean Stemmett, Sarel Potgieter, Jonathan Adendorf, Wilhelm Koch, Henoe Stoffberg. Penalties: Stoffberg (4). Conversions Stoffberg (5).

Tukkies – Tries: Gert Lubbe, Kruger van Heerden (2), Gerhard van den Heever (2), Oscar Mfundise. Penalties: Chandre Boshoff (2). Conversions: Boshoff (3), Joey Mongalo (1).

By Grant Ball