BY BRYNLEY VAN AARDT & HELENE LEONARD
Varsity Cup brought plenty of gees to Coetzenberg this Monday, as the defending champion, FNB Maties, went up against Central University of Technology (CUT) with both teams sporting a player in pink shorts as part of a mental wellness campaign. Danie Craven Stadium was buzzing with excitement and anticipation as to what Maties would bring to the field. FNB Maties gave their utmost best where players were seen taking control over the ball, showing consistency in their defense, together with an almost unbreakable backline.
The game got off to a slow start with FNB Maties and FNB CUT both being consistent in their play but in the 17th minute it was ultimately the Maroon Machine that took charge and opened the scoring with a try from the wing, Anton du Toit. CUT, however, did not back down and kept a determined Maties at bay until taking the lead with a try and conversion in the 27th minute. The 34th minute saw Maties regain the lead with a breakthrough at the 40m line with a timely pass to see du Toit once again find the other side of the try line. After a successful conversion, a try in the 37th minute by Munier Hartzenberg as well as a penalty try just moments after the whistle went, FNB Maties went into halftime leading 26-7.
Come the second half, CUT scored an early try but afterwards, could no longer withstand the whirlwind of Stellenbosch’s Maties and so, FNB Maties continued to score. The ball was mostly seen in the hands of the hosting team with another two tries from du Toit as well as a try and two conversions from Reinhardt Fortuin before FNB CUT managed to add another 10 points to their score with tries in the 63rd and 67th minutes. Luciano Elias from Maties and Jan Kotze from CUT managed another try each for their respective teams before a penalty try in the second last minute saw Maties completely take the game away with a winning score of 67-24.
Our men in red absolutely dominated the field, it must however be noted that up to the last minute of the game, CUT gave a brilliant attempt in staying in the game even though it was clearly evident that they had no chance of winning against the vigorous FNB Maties
Anton du Toit was truly persistent, which won him the man of the match award. He went wherever the ball went and was adamant on breaking the strength of CUT’s backline. Although this was a high-class performance from both teams, both fly-halfs seemed to have had a tough day in the office with the wind not making it easy to get the ball through the poles. CUT also needs to have another glance at the drawing board as Maties try scoring machines wreak havoc during this Varsity cup season.
We have seen an outstanding performance from our men in maroon, however, the question ultimately remains, will Maties be able to up their form and give us another spectacular performance next against the University of Western Cape (UWC)?