It was a special affair at the Danie Craven stadium last night as the two sides from the Western Cape locked horns in the sixth round of the Varsity Cup. The showpiece was capped with the respective rectors of the two universities commemorating 100 years of tertiary education as both universities are celebrating their centenary this year. It was however the home side to walk away with the birthday spoils, giving their neighbours a lesson in consistency.
It took the Maties two minutes to get onto the score sheet as inside centre Chris Smit powered through the Ikeys backline to have the clinical Duncan Saal finish off his efforts. Chris Smith failed to covert, however, as he adjusted to the wind out in Stellenbosch. A dominant scrum led the Stellenbosch outfit to a penalty try in 18th minute. With set-pieces in favour of the home side and Stephen Streicher crashing over the try line just before half-time, the Maroon Machne went in 26-0 at the break.
The boys from the Mother City failed to break a resilient Maties defence after half-time. Poor decision-making and a loss of concentration resulted in the lack of points for the Ikeys outfit. Losing captain Josh Moon said, “We always knew it was going to be tough coming out to the Danie Craven, with the atmosphere here, and I think we just switched on a bit late. They (Maties) came at us at 100 km/h throughout the whole game.”
It took the visiting side 60 minutes to get onto the score sheet when hooker Cuan Hablutzel brought Ikeys to seven points with his try in the latter stage of the game. The boys from UCT capitalised when Johan Momsen was sent to the sin bin in the 67th minute, bringing the score line to a respectable 33-14 by the final whistle.
Maties are undefeated at this stage of the campaign, but the win against neighbouring university UCT meant so much more than just rugby when captain Neil Oelofse said, “It’s a special week for us; the University is celebrating its 100th year and we as a team have a little campaign running to support a very special girl, so it’s quite an emotional week.”
On behalf of the team, Player that Rocks, Neethling Fouche, dedicated this game to raise awareness for 4-year-old Mihla Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht suffers from Cerebral Neuroblastoma, a very rare form of brain cancer.