Maties are once again the Varsity Cup champions after a crushing win against Pukke. The hosts, playing front of a packed Danie Craven Stadium, won 40-7 and exorcised the ghosts of 2016 when they lost a home final in the final minute 7-6 to the Pukke.
There was to be no such drama in 2018 and the home team were always in control of the final. Maties opened the scoring from a penalty try and led 10-0 after SACS old boy Christopher Smith snapped over a drop goal.
Pukke got a try very much against the run of play in the 37th minute but a three point differential at half time didn’t tell the story of the one-sided nature of the match.
To illustrate just how dominant the hosts were, after an hour they had 70 percent of the ball and also field position and had made just 28 tackles compared to the 70 of Pukke.
Pukke were brave and committed, but they were simply outclassed.
Maties scored two early tries in first quarter of the second half and the flood of possession led to more points in the final quarter.
Chris Smit breaks away during Maties win over Pukke in the Varsity Cup final in Stellenbosch on Monday night. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Maties right wing Duncan Saal had a very good final and the lock pairing of Maties Johan Momsen and Ernst van Rhyn were huge. Van Saal was named the backline player of the competition.
The Maties back row of Marno Redelinghuys, Chris Massyn and Johan van Niekerk, individually and collectively, were also very impressive. Van Niekerk won the man of the match award and Redelinghuys won the best forward in the competition.
Maties, who won three successive Varsity Cup finals in the first three years of the competition, had lost three finals in the last five years.
Not so, on April 16, when Maties were again true to their competition form.
FNB Maties: 40
Tries: Penalty Try, Edwill van der Merwe; Johan Momsen; Munier Hartzenberg; Ricky Nwagbara
Cons: Chris Smith (4)
Drop goals: Chris Smith
FNB NWU: 7
Tries: Tiaan Bezuidenhout
Cons: Schalk Hugo
FNB Player That Rocks: Johan van Niekerk (FNB Maties)
FNB Maties: 15 Carlisle Nel, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Christopher Smith, 9 Remu Malan, 8 Marno Redelinghuys, 7 Chris Massyn, 6 Johan van Niekerk, 5 Johan Momsen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Chippie Oelofse (C)
Replacements: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Ricky Nwagbara, 18 Piet-Louw Strauss, 19 Brandon Valentyn, 20 Stefan Streicher, 21 Brandon Nel, 22 Munier Hartzenberg, 23 Jordan Chait
FNB NWU: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Jimmy Mpailane, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Akhona Nela, 11 Dean Stokes, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Tiaan Bezuidenhout, 7 Estehan Visagie, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Robert Hunt, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Matimu Manganyi
Subs: 16 Percy Mngadi, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Theodore Ferreira, 19 Jaco Swanepoel, 20 Wandile Mazibuko, 21 Nkosana Mbatha, 22 Henko Marais, 23 Justin Newman
FNB Player That Rocks: Walt Steenkamp (NWU)
FNB Back That Rocks: Duncan Saal (Maties)
FNB Forward That Rocks: Marno Redelinghuys (Maties)