Tuks thrashed Pukke 53-24 in a 10-try thriller to qualify for the Varsity Cup final.
It was an entertaining match in Pretoria, with the hosts sealing a big win with seven tries – five of them coming in a strong second-half performance. Pukke provided a good challenge in the opening 40, but their fight faded as Tuks ran rampant after the break.
Man of the Match and fullback Clayton Blommetjies starred with a brace, while flank Wiaan Liebenberg, scrumhalf Lohan Jacobs, inside centre Dabeon Draghoender and wing Deon Helberg also dotted down in a smart expansive showing. Flyhalf Wesley Dunlop added six conversions and his general play and tactical kicking was influential in the Tuks’ expansive approach.
Pukke used their burly forwards to gain the ascendancy in the first half, which saw fullback SW Oosthuizen and No 8 Spanner Pretorius cross the chalk to claim a 16-13 lead at half-time. But the students from Potchefstroom had no answer to Tuks’ second half surge as they could only score a consolation try via wing Andrew van Wyk, who finished a smart chip-and-chase effort.
Tuks captain and hooker Zane Botha said that home ground advantage will be vital against Maties in next week’s final.
‘We’re so happy with the victory against Pukke. We knew what was required – we didn’t care if it was one or 30 points, we just wanted to win,’ said Botha. ‘We’re delighted to be playing at home, which is a big plus. We’ll focus hard over the next week, then we’ll take it play by play in the final.’
By Gareth Duncan