More than 15 000 supporters filled the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch last night for the 11th annual FNB Varsity Cup where Maties beat Shimlas 56-21.
Despite last week’s victory against Tuks, the defending champions, the Maties outfit proved too difficult a task for the boys from the University of the Free State. Supporters were treated to an exceptional showcase in rugby as both teams displayed immense intensity and tactical awareness.
Flank Marno Redelinghuys opened the home team’s account, bulldozing through the Shimlas defence with flyhalf Chris Smith converting his efforts, pinning Maties 7 to the good inside the first four minutes. Shimlas hit back to level matters by the 10th minute (7-7) setting the precedent for an exciting bout.
Shimlas prompted their Power Play and despite having both Maties centres off the pitch, Shimlas failed to capitalize. With the score at 17-7, it was the home team who picked up points.
A monumental showcase in defensive and counter attacking rugby saw the sea of maroon up on their feet at 32 minutes, when Maties dynamic duo, Van der Merwe and Duncan Saal, had a brilliant interchange of play as Saal covered 80 metres to touch down his third try of this year’s campaign.
Maties’s right-wing, Saal, rounded up a hat-trick of tries, this after his brace last week. After being crowned the FNB Player that Rocks, Saal was asked about his successes in the campaign thus far. “It’s not about me, it’s just a team effort and all I do is just finish for the team, it’s part of my contribution and I will continue to work hard,” he said.
At the break, the teams went in at 33-14 in favour of the home side. Shimlas enjoyed most of the possession during the earlier stages of the second half, but were unable to break the resilient Maties defence.
A moment of pride for captain Niel Oelofse, who found himself on the score sheet after yet another display of quick hands, quick feet and all in all smooth counter attacking rugby from the Maties.
The match ended with the final score at 56-21.
Maties are on top of the standings so far but Oelofse maintains that his team will continue to work hard to remain there.
“We’re trying to take momentum into each game, so we started off well and we want to win the Varsity Cup this year. So therefore we set goals for ourselves and today was just a goal that we set to get the bonus point and try and stay on top of the log,” Oelofse said.
The defending champions, Tuks, are next to visit the Danie Craven stadium in the third round of the Varsity Cup.
FNB PLAYER THAT ROCKS: Duncan Saal (FNB Maties)
FNB Maties: 56 Tries: Marno Redelinghuys; Edwill van der Merwe; Duncan Saal (3); Chippie Oelofse; Chris Smith, Cons: Chris Smith (5); Reinhardt Fortuin, Pens: Chris Smith
FNB Shimlas: 21 Tries: Saida Xamlashe (2); Athi Halom, Conversions: Lubabalo Dobela; Charl Naude (2)
FNB MATIES: 15 Reinhardt Fortuin, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Cornel Smit, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Chris Smith, 09 Remu Malan, 08 Janco Venter, 07 Marno Redelinghuys, 06 Mitchell Carstens, 05 Johan Momsen, 04 Ernst van Rhyn, 03 Neethling Fouche, 02 Wilmar Arnoldi, 01 Niel Oelofse (C)
Replacements: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Ricky Nwagbara, 18 Piet-Louw Strauss, 19 Brandon Valentyn, 20 Stefan Streicher, 21 Logan Boonzaaier, 22 Elden Schoeman, 23 Munier Hartzenberg
FNB SHIMLAS: 15 Charl Naude, 14 Athi Halom, 13 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 12 Saida Xamlashe, 11 Francois Agenbag, 10 Lubabalo Dobela, 09 Badie Badenhorst, 08 Bertie de Bod, 07 Shlovi Nhlabathi, 06 Janco Cloete, 05 Henk Pretorius, 04 Raymond Woest, 03 Janu Botha, 02 Hanno Snyman, 01 Johan Kotze
Replacements: 16 JC Jansen van Vuuren, 17 Wentzel Vorster, 18 Mogau Maboleka, 19 Rholane Ncubuka, 20 Chris Dobby Roelofse, 21 Geraldo Booysen, 22 Francois Pretorius, 23 Sechaba Matsoele