FNB UJ managed to beat rivals FNB Wits in an enthralling game to solidify their top four spot in the 2017 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International.
The opening half of the Johannesburg derby went in the way of FNB Wits early on as they scored an early penalty through Warren Gilbert, and were a man up as FNB UJ starlet Aphiwe Dyanti received a yellow card in the opening five minutes. FNB UJ were up for the task as flyhalf Divan Nel also converted a penalty and it was soon 3-3.
The home side then needed assistance from the TMO, and the referee awarded the try courtesy of Jo-Hanko De Villiers to go 8-3 ahead. Warren Gilbert of FNB Wits closed the gap with a penalty and keep the game within reach. FNB UJ pounced on some hesitant defending and Jaco Fourie managed to block a kick as the ball bounced in his favor to touch down for a try. Divan Nel scored the conversion from an acute angle to make 15-6.
FNB Wits stormed through with a powerful maul and the home side were left flat footed. Their try was converted by hooker CJ Conradie, and the captain made no mistake with the conversion, 15-13. At this stage FNB Wits were playing like the home side, as their away supporters, who came out in numbers, spurred them on and they eventually took the lead thanks to Ruan Cloete. FNB Wits led 18-15. FNB clawed back thanks to Divan Nel and the match was perfectly poised at 18-18 heading into halftime.
The tightly contested match could afford no margin for error and FNB UJ took a slender advantage with another penalty for Divan Nel.
The match was reaching its climax and the stadium filled to capacity were anticipating an epic finale. With the score at 21-18 to FNB UJ, the home side scored the try that mattered as Adrian Bester touched with a vital five-pointer, and Divan Nel scored the conversion. The score was now 28-18. There was, however, to be a final twist in the tale as FNB Wits powered through again from a maul and were narrowly behind 28-23.
But that was all she wrote as FNB UJ eventually won the match 28-23.
FNB Player that Rocks: Jo-Hanko De Villiers (FNB UJ)
FNB UJ: 28
Tries: Jo Hanko De Villiers, Jaco Fourie, Adrian Bester
Cons: Divan Nel (2)
Pen: Divan Nel (3)
Yellow Cards: Aphiwe Dyanti
FNB Wits: 23
Tries: CJ Conradie, Ruan Cloete, Graham Logan
Cons: Warren Gilbert
Pen: Warren Gilbert (2)
FNB UJ starting XV: 1 Waldo Weideman, 2 Johannes Snyman ©, 3 Kyle Kruger, 4 Kevin du Randt, 5 Adriaan Bester, 6 Gavin Delport, 7 Wian Conradie, 8 Jo-Hanco de Villiers, 9 Johan Esterhuizen, 10 Divan Nel, 11 Godfrey Ramaboea, 12 Jaco Fourie, 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 14 Ronald Brown, 15 Ewan Adams
Replacements: 16 Baard Le Roux, 17 Sarel Smith, 18 Chergin Fillies, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Leon Massyn, 21 Devon Mare, 22 Carlisle Jordaan, Peter-John Walters.
FNB Wits starting XV: 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Kwanele Ngema 13 Wandisile Simelane , 12 Brandan Hewitt, 11 Luxolo Ntsepe, 10 Warren Gilbert, 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Constant Beckerling, 7 Conor Brockschmidt, 6 Ruan Mcdobald, 5 Rhyno Herbst, 4 Graham Logan , 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 CJ Conradie, 1. CJ Greef
Replacements: 16. Justin Brandon, 17. Brandon Palmer, 18. Pascal Snyman, 19Jethro De Lange , 20 Tyrone Green, 21 Joshua Jarrvis, 22. AJ Van Blerk, 23. Ameer Williams
By Nkosinathi Shazi