FNB UFS Young Guns have booked their place in this year’s FNB Varsity Young Guns final after handing the FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns their first ever defeat in the competition with a thrilling 37-24 win in Bloemfontein on Monday.
The game was also a replay of last year’s final and it lived up to its billing as the clash of the round robin stage.
Kovsies started the game well, putting the UP-Tuks Young Guns under a lot of pressure in the opening ten minutes, however, the away team defended well and absorbed everything the defending champions through at them.
The dam wall soon broke when Kovsies’ lock Ntokoza Vidima got the game’s first try off a quick tap five metres from the UP-Tuks Young Guns tryline to make it 8-0 after 12 minutes.
Four minutes later the young Tuks hit back when No.8 Luigy van Jaarsveld scored a well-worked try after he received a pass from scrumhalf Theo Maree, who broke from the back of a scrum.
The Pretoria team then got another try through winger Keanan van Wyk after sustained pressure and by the first strategy break were leading 16-8. The home team then turned on the gas and after eight minutes of solid pressure in their opponents half levelled matters when blindside flank Nardus Erasmus got the try and then took the lead when replacement Carel Durow got his team’s third try to make it 21-16 at half-time.
The high intensity rugby continued at the start of the second half with both teams going at each other hard in both defence and attack with the score remaining the same until the second strategy break.
However, two minutes later, openside flanker Jeandre Swanepoel put the UP-Tuks Young Guns level again with a try before flyhalf Tinus de Beer converted to give them a three-point lead. Swanepoel’s opposite number, De Wet Bezuidenhout then got Kovsies fourth and bonus-point try and with 15 minutes to go were hanging on a slender five-point lead.
The home team then sealed the game when centre Stephen Rautenbach got the fifth and final try to put the game out of reach for the two-time champions.
For FNB UFS Young Guns:
Tries: Vidima, Erasmus, Durow, Bezuidenhout, Van Staden
Cons: Jordaan 4
For FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns:
Tries: Van Jaarsveld, van Wyk, Swanepoel
Cons: De Beer 3
FNB UFS Young Guns: 15 Apiwe Dinga, 14 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 13 Stephen Rautenbach, 12 Neil Stannard, 11 Arno van Staden, 10 Julian Jordaan, 9 Arrie Pretorius, 8 Daniel Nyamugama, 7 Nardus Erasmus, 6 De Wet Bezuidenhout, 5 Andries Kriek (captain), 4 Ntokoza Vidima, 3 Johan Kotze, 2 Robin Stevens, 1 Quintin Vorster.
Replacements: 16 Henry Slabbert, 17 Janu Botha, 18 Lawrence Danso, 19 Willandre Kotzenberg, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Carel Durow, 22 Dale Koopman, 23 Thabiso Khanye.
FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns: FNB UP-Tuks Young Guns: 15 Lourens Pretorius, 14 Keanan van Wyk, 13 Peet Schoeman (captain), 12 Franco Naude, 11 Curtley Prins, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Theo Maree, 8 Luigy van Jaarsveld, 7 Marco van Staaden, 6 Jeandre Swanepoel, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Sam Mitchell, 3 Stefaan Grundlingh, 2 Vuyo Khathide, 1 Xander van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Madot Mabokela, 18 Ashton Fortuin, 19 Adrian Brits, 20 Impi Visser, 21 Brendan Owen, 22 Divan Roussouw, 23 Jacobus Holtzhauzen.