FNB UP-Tuks beat Steinhoff Maties 50-21 in a wet Stellenbosch on Monday to take their second consecutive FNB Varsity Young Guns title.
The Pretoria juggernaut, who have not lost a game in two season of Young Guns rugby, scored six tries on their way to a comfortable victory in a replay of last year’s final.
The visitors made the early running, and hammered away at the Maties defensive line until a well-timed pass from flyhalf Francois Tredoux saw right wing Kefentse Mahlo cruise under the poles untouched to give them an 8-0 lead.
Maties responded by marching into the UP-Tuks 22 and a powerful rolling maul saw big lock Meyer Ferreira crash over for a try which reduced the Pretoria team’s advantage to 8-5.
However, UP-Tuks hit back with a driving maul of their own which resulted in No.8 Nicolaas Immelman getting over for their second try which put them 16-5 ahead of their hosts in the driving rain.
The defending champions kept the pressure on and it told when Maties flank Nicolai Lubbe was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. UP-Tuks used their advantage well when it was sent out to fullback Jacques Rossouw who finished well to give them a 21-5 lead at the first strategy break.
The wet conditions made it difficult for either side to gather much momentum, and as a result UP-Tuks took that 16 point lead into the half-time break.
The visitors were straight onto the front foot at the start of the second half and it was not long before centre Burger Odendaal forced his way over from close range to put them 29-5 ahead.
To their credit Maties did not give in and some slick handling in the UP-Tuks 22 saw Lubbe go over for their second try which reduced the gap to 29-13 and gave the home side a glimmer of hope.
UP-Tuks captain Carlo Engelbrecht dived over to notch his team’s fifth try which gave them a comfortable 37-13 cushion with 15 minutes remaining, but Maties kept themselves within two converted tries when flank Pieter de Wet stretched to score their third try.
However UP-Tuks were to have the final say with a late double strike as first replacement prop Wilco Louw barged his way over the tryline before Engelbrecht got his second try with the final movement of the match.
For Steinhoff Maties:
Tries: Ferreira, Lubbe, De Wet
Cons: Visagie 2
For FNB UP-Tuks:
Tries: Mahlo, Immelman, Rossouw, Odendaal, Engelbrecht 2, Louw
Cons: Rossouw 5
Yellow card: Lubbe (19 mins, Dangerous tackle)
Steinhoff Maties: 15 Wihan Lombard, 14 Lihleli Tini, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Wilhelm Visagie, 11 Boutros Mbina, 10 Kobus Putter, 9 Bjorn Bernardo, 8 Michael Murphy, 7 Pieter de Wet, 6 Nicolai Lubbe, 5 Meyer Ferreira, 4 Gerhard de Wet, 3 JE van der Merwe, 2 Cullen Collopy, 1 Migael Grobler.
Replacements: 16 De Wet Steenkamp, 17 Johnny Meyer, 18 Tangeni Shatiwa, 19 Beuton Nero, 20 Pieter Schoonraad, 21 Andre le Roux, 22 Kirk Cupido, 23 Nicol Heyns.
FNB UP-Tuks: 15 Jacques Rossouw, 14 Kefentse Mahlo, 13 Daniel Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Francois Tredoux, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Nicolaas Immelman, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Theuns Reynolds, 1 Jan Enslin
Replacements: 16 Ruan Steenkamp, 17 Wilco Louw, 18 Paul Janse van Rensburg, 19 Gerrit Engelbrecht, 20 Ganfried May, 21 Leighton van Wyk, 22 Lood De Jager, 23 Nqoba Mxoli.
Referee: Daniel Fortuin
TMO: Shaun Veldsman