A 14-man UCT side honoured Monte Taljaard in style with a wonderful 36-17 victory over NMMU in Port Elizabeth.
On an emotional night it was the Tigers that handled the conditions better and out classed their hosts in almost ever department.
The visitors made most of the early running and were rewarded in the 11 minute when the dangerous Sean van Tonder burst through a gap in the NMMU defence and used his power to force his way over the line for the opening try of the game.
The Tigers kept NMMU on the back foot and the hosts struggled to deal with the powerful running of Van Tonder and Dane Johnson in particular and with 17 minutes gone Therlow Pietersen added his sides’ second try of the evening.
UCT grabbed their third try when the impressive scrumhalf Jean-Paul Robert broke the line beautifully before sending it wide to Johnson who stepped one defender and dotted down under the posts. Pietersen added the extras and the Ikeys led 19-0.
However, the hosts finally gave their fans something to cheer about as they eventually got out of their half and after a good line break big No 8 Jaco Rayn Swanepoel powered over the line for his teams’ first points.
The Madibas got themselves right back in the game just a few minutes later when, from no where, Andre Goosen pounced on a loose ball and showcased his pace as he ran all of 40 metres for NMMU’s second try narrow the gap to just five points.
The landscape of the game completely changed at the start of the second half when Michael Passaportis was red carded for an off the ball incident. With the momentum and a man advantage NMMU would have backed themselves to turn the result around, but Pieter Engelbrecht showcased all his skills as he pounced on a loose ball, kicked it up field out-sprinted two defenders and saw off the challenge of another to score his side’s bonus point try in the corner.
Flyhalf Willem Laubscher added a penalty for NMMU narrow the gap to nine points, but despite being a man down it was the visitors that looked the more dangerous and Johnson bagged his second of the game in the 60 minute.
Pieterson had some trouble keeping the ball on the kicking tee in the strong PE wind and decided to drop the conversion to give his side a 33-17 lead and even with a man advantage it was always going to be hard for the host to get back in the encounter and in the end UCT held on for a memorable win to take home the Monte Taljaard trophy.
In the night’s other results Pukke edged UJ 19-9 while Maties maintained their place at the top of the table with a 24-14 win away to TUT.
By Andrew Worling