The FNB Maties have secured their spot in yet another FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International final after narrowly defeating FNB UJ 22-14 at Danie Craven Stadium on Monday evening.
After beating FNB UJ comfortably last week, FNB Maties were made to work much harder when the two sides met again on Monday afternoon at Danie Craven Stadium. FNB Maties narrowly got the better of a spirited FNB UJ, 22-14.
FNB UJ put FNB Maties under immense pressure in the first half, with their forwards asserting control over the FNB Maties forwards. Dominant and powerful scrums meant FNB UJ had the upper hand but unnecessary mistakes let the Joburg outfit down.
The FNB Maties backs looked more dangerous with ball in hand with outside centre, Michal Haznar in particularly running strong lines as FNB Maties had the majority of possession in the first half. Winger, Kyle Steyn, picked up where he left off last week by scoring the first and only try before the break, after Haznar broke through from his own half before offloading to Steyn, resulting in a seven-point try for the men from Stellenbosch.
FNB UJ remained in the contest, however, with their forwards. Numerous scrum penalties resulted in them getting points on the board through flyhalf, Divan Nel, who also slotted a drop goal. Ill-discipline towards the latter stages of the first half by FNB UJ led to FNB Maties adding to their total.
The second half started well for the home side when Craig Barry sniped through the FNB UJ defence to score his ninth try of the season – the most by any FNB Maties player in a single season. FNB UJ, however, hit back through a try by replacement fullback, Ronald Brown, in the 63rd minute to make the game anybody’s to take. Some tight defence by FNB UJ in the final 10 minutes of the match meant they were still in with a chance and it took some last-gasp defending by the Maroon Machine to eventually win a penalty on their own tryline in the 80th minute.
FNB UJ added to the tension when they played their white card after that penalty decision for FNB Maties but it was unsuccessful as replacement flyhalf, Chris Smith, booted the ball into the stands to send FNB Maties to their sixth Varsity Cup final.
FNB Maties will either play FNB Tuks or FNB Shimlas in the final.
FNB Player that Rocks: Michal Haznar (FNB Maties)
FNB Maties: 22
Tries: Kyle Steyn (seven-point), Craig Barry (five-point)
Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg
Penalties: Ernst Stapelberg (3)
FNB UJ: 14
Tries: Ronald Brown (five-point)
Penalties: Divan Nel (2)
Drop Goals: Divan Nel
FNB Maties: 15 Craig Barry ©, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Brendon Nell, 8 Devon Nash, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Mitchell Carstens, 5 Johan Momsen, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 JE van der Merwe, 2 Craig Corbett, Niel Oelofse
16 HJ Luus, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Jake Blew, 19 Ruben de Villiers, 20 Saud Abrahams, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Duncan Saal
FNB UJ: 15 Ewan Adams, 14 Peter John Walters, 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 12 Jaco Fourie, 11 Godfrey Ramaboea, 10 Divan Nel, 9 Johan Esterhuizen, 8 Jo-Hanko de Villiers, 7 Leon Massyn, 6 Wian Conradie, 5 Adriaan Bester, 4 Kevin du Randt, 3 Nico du Plessis, 2 Jannes Snyman ©, 1 Dillon Bakos
16 Le Roux Barnard, 17 Kyle Kruger, 18 Chergin Fillies, 19 Kyle van Dalen, 20 Reinhardt Nothnagel, 21 Devon Mare, 22 Ronald Brown, 23 Carlisle Jordaan
By Andre Huisamen