Pukke secured a place in the Varsity Cup final with a dramatic 19-17 win over UCT.
The students from Potchefstroom put the agony of last year’s last minute semi-final defeat to the same side behind them with a well deserved come-from-behind win in tough conditions in Cape Town.
UCT were the better side in the first half with the wind at their backs. Without seeing too much ball, the Ikeys set up camp in Pukke’s half and finally made the breakthrough in the 25th minute through Marcello Sampson after some good work by centre Tiger Bax created the initial overlap.
The visitors failed to make a single visit to UCT’s 22 metre area in the entire first half and the pressure began to toll. With just eight minutes left in the first stanza UCT got on the scoreboard again through Michael Passaportis and the hosts went into the break 12 points to the good.
But the big question was how would UCT be able to deal with the howling wind in the second half and three minutes in Pukke got on the board through a Cecil Dumond penalty.
UCT, like Pukke in the first half, were under immense pressure as they struggled against the wind to get out of their own half, but after a good period of possession and some good interplay between their backs and forwards led to UCT’s third try.
The message from coach John Dobson to his players would have been to hang onto the ball for as long as possible. That was far easier said than done as some poor discipline gave Dumond a chance to slot his third penalty of the evening which he did with ease to narrow the gap.
When winger Lolo Waka scored his side’s only try of the game and Dumond nailed the conversion it was down to a one point game with just over 15 minutes left to play.
The hosts dug deep and defended with everything they had left, but some ill discipline cost them as they gave away a penalty right out in front which Dumond popped over to secure the win.
By Andrew Worling