Once again Maties supporters came out in their numbers at a windy Danie Craven stadium on Monday evening.
It seemed like a repeat of last year’s final between Maties and defending champions Tuks. However, the home side proved too good for the boys from Pretoria avenging their loss last year.
It was a slow start for the host team, who enjoyed most of the ball, but were trailing to the boot of Tuks fly-half, Tinus de Beer. He placed the visiting team six points to the good, converting back-to-back penalties in the opening stages of the game.
The first five-pointer came after the first strategy break when Maties’s Johan Momsen went low and hard to crash over for the opening try, sending the sea of maroon into a frenzy.
De Beer, however, kept the visiting outfit in the game with another three points from the kicking tee. It didn’t last long as the hosts scored a try nudging them into the lead, 14-9.
Maties was reduced to 14 men, as Ernst van Rhyn received a yellow card for an offence just before the break.
Tuks then took advantage of the opportunity with a last minute try in the first half, taking the lead, 14-16. This year’s Varsity Cup has the added Power Play rule, where teams get to choose two backline players of the opposing side to leave the field of play for three minutes.
Both teams could not capitalize during their respective Power Plays, despite having the numerical
Maties playing with the wind at their backs during the second half looked to strike back. They did so in the 48th minute with a try by former Tukkie, Chris Massyn. This put Maties ahead, 21-16.
Tuks who had a lot to play for, found themselves trailing by eight points when a yellow card, awarded to Marco van Staden. The penalty allowed Chris Smith to capitalize from the resulting penalty, which produced the final score of 24-16, in favour of Maties.
Maties has built up momentum during the previous three undefeated rounds, yet captain, Niel Oelofse, was focused on the upcoming fixtures when interviewed after the match.
“Momentum is important in Varsity Cup but this is a difficult competition. Tomorrow we’ll go back to the drawing board, start on a blank page and get ready for CUT,” said Oelofse.
Maties lead with 14 points at the top of the Varsity Cup log. Next up Maties will face CUT in the fourth round of the competition, which will again be played at Danie Craven stadium.