The Central University of Technology began their 2011 Varsity Shield campaign with a 31-12 victory over FNB Fort Hare in Bloemfontein on Thursday evening.
The home side, CUT, scored the only tries of the match - through captain Inus Kritzinger (two) and centre Leon Pretorius - and the University of Fort Hare found the going a bit too tough in the second half after trailing by just 6-10 at half-time.
Man of the Match Kritzinger's first-half try, coupled with a Jannie Myburgh conversion and penalty, gave the home side their four-point lead - despite the efforts of Fort Hare No.10 Qondani Katywa who kicked two penalties in the first 40 minutes.
The second half began with another Kritzinger try (from another successful CUT set-piece), and a Myburgh penalty, but the visitors kept in touch with two more Katywa penalty goals to leave them just 12-18 down.
However, the final quarter was just a bridge too far for the visitors, who conceded their third try when Pretorius profited from some good hands by his teammates. Myburgh converted his team's third try, before adding a fourth penalty goal in the final five minutes to end up with a more than useful haul of 16.
With time running out, Ixias flanker Grant Shai intercepted a pass from scrumhalf Ntando Kebe in the visitors' 22 and surely would have scored only for referee Gerrie de Bruin to call the teams back for a knock-on in the line-out leading up to Kebe's pass. It would have been the home side's fourth - and bonus-point clinching - try.
Aside from Myburgh's 16-point haul, fullback Nhlanganiso 'Slang' Sibanda and right-wing Alec Mhlanga stood out for CUT, whilst all-action No.7 flanker Onke Dubase performed superbly once again - as he did against Wits earlier this week - for the visitors.
CUT's next clash is against FNB UWC - in Bellville - on Monday, February 7 (kick-off 7pm), whilst Fort Hare have a week off before returning to action on February 14 against FNB UKZN (away).
For FNB CUT:
Tries: I Kritzinger 2, Pretorius
Cons: Myburgh 2
Pens: Myburgh 4
For FNB Fort Hare:
Pens: Katywa 4
CUT: 15 Nhlanganiso 'Slang' Sibanda, 14 Alec Mhlanga, 13 Jaco Oosthuizen, 12 Leon Pretorius, 11 Febere Badenhorst, 10 Jannie Myburgh, 9 Inus Kritzinger, 8 Tumelo Moholo, 7 Juan Hugo, 6 Grant Shai, 5 Gavin Annandale, 4 Anton Smith, 3 Werner Pretorius, 2 Deon Gouws, 1 Rudi Britz.
Replacements: 16 Danie Smith, 17 Petri Coetzee, 18 Henku van Zyl, 19 Trevor Nyakane, 20 Egan Gysmann, 21 PW Roux, 22 Wally Cordier, 23 Rudi Fuls.
Fort Hare: 15 Ayanda Mateisi, 14 Sinovuyo Ganto, 13 Lukhanyiso Fana, 12 Thabo Ratyana, 11 Sabelo Kolanisi, 10 Qondani Katywa, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Thando Ndondo (captain), 7 Onke Dubase, 6 Billy Dutton, 5 Sokhana Mkona, 4 Itumeleng Mokae, 3 Xola Mapapu, 2 Kwezilokusa Mkhafu, 1 Luvuyo Kama.
Replacements: 16 Vuyisani Mavuso, 17 Sive Ntwasa, 18 Matomela Mabhengu, 19 Nkosikhona Nofuma, 20 Sibabalwe Mtsulwana, 21 Lukhanyiso Magele, 22 Mandilakhe Gcilitshana, 23 Lwando Makhongolo.
Referee: Gerrie de Bruin