UJ dig deep to edge Tukkies

The University of Johannesburg survived a late surge from Tukkies to claim a tense 9-3 victory and keep their slim play-off hopes alive.

Having led from the 12th minute, UJ endured a torrid last 10 minutes as a determined Tukkies side threw everything they had at the men in orange, but poor weather and equally poor goal kicking proved to be the downfall for the men from Pretoria.

Both sides played at a frenetic pace in a tightly contested opening quarter, but Tukkies discipline let them down as they gave away two early penalties and UJ flyhalf Arno Coetzee converted both with ease in the pouring Highveld rain.

The hosts enjoyed the territorial advantage and had the upper hand in the set pieces, but only had the two penalties to show for it and Tukkies did well to get out of their half with time running out in the first half and were rewarded for the endeavour with a penalty which Marnitz Boshoff calmly slotted to make it 6-3 at the break.

After the break UJ were again the better of the two sides and were awarded yet another penalty after some good running by fulback Earl Lewis, but Coetzee missed it to the delight of the travelling Tukkies fans.

The Jo’burg students continued to threaten and you felt it was only a matter of time before they got the all important breakthrough, but the wet ball was proving to be their downfall and UJ only extended their lead in the 58th minute through a Lewis penalty.

A dangerous tackle from one of the UJ replacements gave Tukkies the chance to close the gap, but Boshoff’s poor night with boot continued as he pulled the penalty attempt just wide.

With less then five minutes to go Tukkies came close to scoring the first try of the game after some great work from their forwards, but the video replay proved inconclusive and the TMO awarded a five-metre scrum.

Tukkies threw everything at the hosts taking the ball through nine phases, but the UJ defence stood strong to hold on for a hard-fought victory.

In the night’s other results UCT edged Shimlas 23-20 in Cape Town while Pukke thumped a woeful TUT side 56-14.

By Andrew Worling