Maties recorded a convincing 47-11 win against Pukke in the Varsity Cup play-offs on Monday and will meet Ikeys in the final.
It was the repeat of last year’s final and the two Varsity Cup giants were psyched up from the outset as their season would be determined a success or failure after 80 minutes.
The strong wind in Stellenbosch saw the players prefer to run the ball in attack. Both teams produced crunching tackles and competed fiercely at the breakdown as they tried to gain the early momentum, but it was the home side who gained ascendancy as they created a 12-0 lead.
After a close contest in the first ten minutes, Maties scored the first points of the game as prop Mike de Neuilly-Rice drove over from close range. Moments later, the defending champions worked their way back into Pukke’s red zone and hooker Matthew Dobson dived over after several pick up and drives from the mobile Maties pack.
Maties were caught out running the ball from their own 22 as Pukke won a turnover. This saw wing SP Marias find space out wide for an easy run in. But scrumhalf Johan Herbst’s try restored Maties’ 12-point lead.
Pukke fullback Theuns Kotze and Maties pivot Andre Kemp then traded penalties as the half-time score stood at 20-8.
Pukke had a perfect start to the second stanza as Kotze kicked an early penalty. But it was to be all Maties for the rest of the game as they ran in another four tries. Dobson grabbed a brace while lock Andrew Prior, wing Tythan Adams and flank Jonathan Adendorf all scored to secure Maties’ third consecutive final.
The final will be an all Cape affair as Ikeys edged Shimlas 27-21 in the first semi-final in Cape Town.
Tries from No 8 JJ Gagiano, centre Marcel Brache and Marcello Sampson saw UCT build a comfortable 19-0 lead by half-time. But they had to fend off a late surge from Shimlas as they hit back with three tries.
But fullback Therlow Pietersen’s try and pivot Matt Rosslee’s penalty in the second half was enough to secure the win.
UCT 27 – 21 Shimlas
Maties 47-11 Pukke
Maties vs UCT
By Gareth Duncan