Maties will play in their fourth Varsity Cup final after their 23-0 win over UJ in Stellenbosch on Monday.
It was a more convincing performance from the three-time champions, compared to the one they delivered in the 10-10 stalemate against UJ in Johannesburg last week. They were brutal on attack and defence, with the latter department their most impressive of this semi-final fixture.
The visitors enjoyed more ball and spent most parts of the match in the opposition’s half, but they were easily halted by a physical Maties guard. This saw a strong first-half display set the platform for the win.
Chean Roux’s charges surged into a 21-0 lead at the break thanks to three tries via fullback Andre Smith, hooker Rob Herring and No 8 Grant Hattingh, while flyhalf Andre Kemp added two conversions.
Smith capitalised from a clever chip from Kemp, who exposed the space inside UJ’s red zone. Smith, who was facing his former team, had a clear run to the tryline once he gathered the ball. Herring and Hattingh dived over from close range, with the former capitalising form a strong rolling maul while the latter found space on the blindside.
It was a closer contest in the second stanza, with a Kemp penalty enough to seal the win and Maties’ place in the 2012 title decider.
Stellenbosch University skipper and flank Helmut Lehmann said his team can clinch their fourth title with a similar performance in the final.
‘I was happy that our defence and attack worked out nicely,’ said Lehmann. ‘We went into defensive mode in the second half, but we had a deficit big enough to defend.
‘There will be a few things to work on ahead of the final, but with similar tough performance, we should be fine against our opponents.’
By Gareth Duncan