The FNB NMMU Madibaz gave their long-suffering fans something to cheer about in Port Elizabeth on Monday night when they staged a dramatic fightback to beat their rivals FNB TUT by 40-15.
The Vikings took a 15-9 lead into the half-time break and looked in control but the home team pulled together and hit back hard in the second forty minutes to secure their first victory in the Varsity Cup since 2009.
Ironically, that last win was over the selfsame TUT team who, quite simply, had no answer to NMMU's incredible second-half burst.
In all, the home side scored 31 unanswered points in the second half as Man of the Match, hooker Martin Ferreira, set the tone with a superb burst early in the second half.
Ferreira's run led to his team's first try as they took the lead early in the second forty minutes - a position they would not relinquish again, thanks to three more tries and the deadly boot of flyhalf Marius Muller.
Two more tries, by winger Juan du Preez and inside centre Jeffrey Taljard extended NMMU's lead to 30-15, before Muller (pictured) popped over his fourth penalty to extend their lead to 33-15 as the clock wound down.
Muller, however, was not done yet and he scored a try of his own - which he also converted - as he secured the victory and the crucial four-try bonus point virtually with the last act of the game.
This win, NMMU's second victory ever in the Varsity Cup, could not have come at a better time for the Men from Port Elizabeth; so, too, that bonus point for scoring four tries.
They have now moved into sixth place on the Varsity Cup log, with TUT in seventh place just one point behind them.
The FNB Pukke - the only team without a victory in 2011 - now occupy last place on the standings, with the Madibaz set to travel to Potchefstroom's Fanie du Toit Stadium next Monday evening.
For FNB NMMU:
Tries: Ferreira, Du Preez, Taljard, Muller
Cons: Muller 4
Pens: Muller 4
For the FNB TUT Vikings:
Pens: R Boshoff 5
NMMU: 15 Vuyolwethu Mazaka, 14 Juan du Preez, 13 Wade Roos, 12 Jeffrey Taljard, 11 Charl van Loggenberg, 10 Marius Muller, 9 Shannon Rick, 8 Jaco Swanepoel (captain), 7 Philip Hanekom, 6 Ferdinand Gerber, 5 Mzwande Zito, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Ross Dawid-Anderson, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Musa Tukela.
Replacements: 16 Lumka Mbane, 17 Dexter Seanancy, 18 Louis Fourie, 19 Andre Goosen, 20 Marlin Ruiters, 21 Bradley Kretzmann, 22 Hlangoluhle Nodongwe, 23 Andile Mrwebi.
TUT: 15 Justin van Staden, 14 Andisa Gqobo, 13 Hansie Graaff, 12 Lutho Nyeka, 11 Thom Seabela, 10 Ruan Boshoff, 9 Manny Raposso, 8 Wessel Cronjé, 7 Wikus Botes (captain), 6 Vince Gwavu, 5 Mare Ewald, 4 Tinus van Wyk, 3 Anton Krynauw, 2 Johan Pieterse, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Jan Scheepers, 18 Ryno Lopes, 19 Julian Erasmus, 20 Zylon McGaffin, 21 Simphiwe Mtimkulu, 22 Ruan van Loo, 23 Dandre van der Westhuyzen.
Referee: Quinton Immelman
By Michele Ihmig