Monday evening saw FNB Varsity Cup action return to the Wits Rugby Stadium. The game was an incredible one between hosts FNB Wits and log leaders FNB Maties, as the two played out to a thrilling 30-30 draw after FNB Wits scored a converted seven-point try on the hooter.
The game got underway with the visitors FNB Maties, showing great intent at the start of the game, putting the hosts on the back foot from the onset. Their efforts were rewarded in as early as just after the seventh minute mark, when FNB Maties winger Edwill van der Merwe crossed over in the corner for an unconverted try. The visitors continued to put the Witsies under pressure and they managed to run in a further two tries to take the score to 17-0.
FNB Wits did, however, slowly get into the game and they garbbed their first try through fullback Tyron Green, who managed to pick up a pass after some great hands from the FNB Wits backs to dot down in the corner in fine style. The Witsies were still not done for the half, when they dashed over for a seven-pointer shortly courtesy of inside centre AJ Van Blerk, with flyhalf Chris Humphries this time making no mistake with the conversion, to take the score to 14-17 to FNB Maties at the break.
The second half saw more of a contest from both teams, with the home side looking for a way to get one over the log leaders. It was however not to be, as FNB Maties struck first once more after the half’s strategy break to extend their lead to 24-14. The men from Stellenbosch were then awarded and converted a penalty just in the FNB Wits half, after the referee spotted some dangerous play from the Witsies. This extended their lead to 27-14 with about 15 minutes left on the clock.
The hosts then seemed to come alive and ploughed away at the FNB Maties defence, until FNB Wits substitute Taine Chabant sliced through to score a converted try and bring FNB Wits within 6 points of FNB Maties. The last 10 minutes then saw the teams then fight to secure the win but it was the visitors that got the points when they received another penalty about 40m out, which Chris Smith slotted to bring the score to 21-30 with five minutes to play.
It was in interesting last few moments with FNB Wits showing great fire and passion, like they have all season. They were eventually rewarded for their hard work, when they scored a seven-point try, which was converted as they drew level with the FNB Maties to share the spoils and become the first side to prevent an FNB Maties victory in 2018.
FNB Player of the Match: Chippie Oelofse (FNB Maties)
FNB Wits: 30
Tries: Tyrone Green (2), AJ Van Blerk, Taine Chabant
Cons: Chris Humphries (3)
FNB Maties: 30
Tries: Edwill Van Der Merwe, Eldoe Schoeman, Johan Momsen
Cons: Chris Smith
Pens: Chris Smith (2)
FNB Wits starting XV: 15. Tyrone Green, 14. Kwanele Ngema, 13. Yanga Hlalu, 12. AJ Van Blerk, 11. Lwazi Monakali, 10. Christian Humphries, 9. Ruan Cloete, 8. Travis Gordon, 7. Jethro De Lange, 6. Constant Beckerling, 5. Pascal Snyman, 4. Conor Terah Brockschmidt, 3. Cornelius Greef, 2. Cecil John Conradie, 1. Ameer Williams
Substitutes: 16. Justin Brandon, 17. Craig Hume, 18. Sipho Siboza, 19. Jethro De Lange, 20. Jared Fuller, 21. Taine Chabant, 22. David Cary, 23. Luyolo Qinela
FNB Maties Starting XV: 15. Reinhardt Fortuin, 14. Duncan Saal, 13. Elden Schoeman, 12. Chris Smit, 11. Eldwill Van Der Merwe, 10. Chris Smit, 9. Remu Malan, 8. Janco Venter, 7. Marno Redelinghuys, 6. Chris Massyn, 5. Johan Momsen, 4. Brandon Valentyn, 3. Neethling Fouche, 2. Wilmar Arnoldi, 1. Chippie Oelofse
Substitutes: 16. HJ Luus, 17. Ricky Mwagbara, 18. Piet-Louw Strauss, 19. Mitchell Carstens, 20. Stefan Streicher, 21. Logan Boonzaaier, 22. Herman Van Dyk, 23. Munier Hartzenburg