UJ eliminated defending champions Maties with a 39-19 win to finish on top of the log while Ikeys, Shimlas and Tuks also qualified for the semi-finals after the seventh round of the Varsity Cup.
UJ delivered a great performance in Stellenbosch to knock out the three-time champions out of the running for the 2011 title. On attack, they exposed the hosts early on and they completed their impressive all-round performance with a robust defence which restricted the usually lethal Maties offence.
The team from Johannesburg started off strongly as they scored three tries through wing Lolo Waka, scrumhalf Rudy Paige and centre Luan Steenkamp to take a 15-0 lead in the 29th minute. Maties hit back via centre Stokkies Hanekom as they trailed 15-7 at half time.
The hosts then scored an early try through lock Hugo Kloppers for a perfect beginning to the second stanza but UJ built a commanding lead as Waka grabbed a double and flyhalf André Smith converted a drop goal. UJ showed an imposing defensive display at the death to restrict Maties while the latter were errant on attack with handling errors a major problem.
Maties eventually broke through as replacement centre Jacobus Jordaan crashed over, but by then it was too late as there were only four minutes left of the clock. Thousands of the disappointed home fans were seen streaming out of Danie Craven stadium as UJ completed the emphatic win with another try by replacement hooker George Ries. Smith added the extras for the last action of the game.
In Pretoria, Ikeys edged Tuks 19-17 in a tight encounter. The win secures UCT a home semi-final in Cape Town while Tuks still manage to qualify for the play-offs despite the defeat.
It was a one-point game at half time with Tuks leading 7-6 as fullback Andries Coetzee dived in at the corner. UCT flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis kept his team in the game with two penalties. The visitors then sealed the win as centre Marcel Brache scored a try and Castrakilis slotted the conversion and two more penalties for the crucial win.
Shimlas sneaked into the semi-finals with a 17-13 comeback victory over NMMU in Port Elizabeth.
NMMU were 3-0 up at the break and stretched their lead to 13-0 early in the second stanza as flyhalf Marius Muller scored all their points through a try, conversion and two penalties. However, the visitors put together a 17-point blitz as replacement scrumhalf Daniel Ackers and flanker Willie Britz crossed the chalk while fullback George Whitehead kicked seven points with the boot to sink the Madibas.
Pukke ended their disappointing campaign on a positive note as they thumped TUT 48-0 in Pretoria.
Pukke ran riot as they scored eight tries in their comprehensive victory and they delivered an impressive defensive display to keep the hosts scoreless. The heavy loss sees TUT finish last on the log and they will face the Varsity Shield champions (CUT or Wits) in the promotion/relegation play-off.
Varsity Cup, Round 7 results:
Maties 19(7) - Tries: Hugo Kloppers, Jacobus Jordaan, Stokkies Hanekom. Conversions: Donald Stevens (2).
UJ 39(15) -Tries: Aubrey McDonald, George Ries, Lolo Waka, Luan Steenkamp, Rudy Paige. Conversions: André Smith. Drop Goals: Smith.
Tuks 17(7) - Tries: Hayden Groepes, Dabeon Draghoender, Andries Coetzee. Conversions: Wesley Dunlop.
UCT 19(6) - Tries: Marcel Brache. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis. Penalties: Catrakilis (4).
NMMU 13(3) – Tries: Marius Muller. Conversions: Muller. Penalties: Muller (2).
Shimlas 17(0) – Tries: Daniel Acker, Willie Britz. Conversions: George Whitehead (2). Penalties: Whitehead.
Pukke 48(31) – Tries: Andrew van Wyk (2), Tiaan Dorfling (2), Alfred Skorbinski, JC Oberholzer, Chris Schoonraad, Joe Seerane, Conversions: Cecil Dumond (3), Schalk Oosthuizen.
Varsity Cup semi-finals (28 March):
UJ vs Tuks, Johannesburg.
Ikeys vs Shimlas, Cape Town.