UCT claimed their first win of the season as they beat Pukke 18-11 at Groote Schuur in the Varsity Cup on Monday.
In the last two campaigns, Ikeys and Pukke have faced each other four times – including two semi-final clashes. The point difference in all four results hasn’t been greater than seven, indicating the tight matches between the two universities.
This second-round fixture was no different as both teams contested fiercely at the set-pieces and breakdowns, and displayed resilient defence.
Pukke, however, had the advantage of Cape Town’s infamous south-easter at their backs and fullback Theuns Kotze made full use of the strong wind as he slotted two penalties for a 6-0 lead.
But last year’s finalists were guilty of not sticking the basics as they decided to run the ball from their own half regularly instead of kicking for territory.
This played into UCT’s favour as they struggled to kick against the wind. They were then allowed to run the ball up the field with relevant success, but the home side let themselves down metres from the try line on several occasions because of poor communication and handling.
However, shortly before the half-time mark, Ikeys managed to cross the whitewash as outside centre Marcel Brache dived on flyhalf Matt Rosslee’s chip to leave the score 6-5 at the end of the first stanza.
In the second half, Ikeys stole the momentum from the restart and put the visitors under early pressure.
This saw Pukke flyhalf Niell Jacobs drop a straight-forward pass in their danger zone, which allowed hooker Dayne Jans to pounce and score UCT’s second try. Rosslee then added the extras.
Brache extended Ikeys lead to 15-6 as he converted a 50m penalty.
With the winds at their backs and a nine-point lead, Ikeys brought on replacement pivot Doug Mallet and moved Rosslee to inside centre, a move to dominate Pukke by kicking for territory.
This worked well as Pukke were pinned down in their 22. Ikeys’ pressure forced the North West University into errors and strangled possession in their own half.
Mallet kicked another long range penalty for the home side, but Ikeys’ defence tired and this allowed Pukke to surge to the other end of the field. After several driving maul attempts, lock Dirco Rautenbach finally brought Pukke within reach with their first try.
This created an intense finish to the match but Ikeys were awarded a final-minute penalty in a kickable position. Mallet pulled his goal attempt wide but UCT held on for the hard-fought win.
In other results, Shimlas also recorded their first win as they convincingly beat NMMU 54-5 in Bloemfontein.
Shimlas No 8 Boom Prinsloo starred for home side as he grabbed four tries against the Madibas.
UJ salvaged a 34-all draw against Tuks in Pretoria as flyhalf André Smith converted a last-minute penalty.
Defending champions Maties continued their dominating form as they beat TUT 62-0 in Stellenbosch.
Centre Dabeon Draghoender grabbed a brace as the Maties crossed the chalk nine times.
Draghoender is Varsity Cup’s top try-scorer with six tries, after scoring four against NMMU last week.
Varsity Cup, Round 2:
UCT 18 Pukke 11
Shimlas 54 NMMU 5
Tuks 34 UJ 34
Maties 62 TUT 0
By Gareth Duncan