FNB UP-Tuks sent a clear message to the rest of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International teams when they recorded a comprehensive 53-8 over FNB Maties in Pretoria.
Tuks were unstoppable in all facets of the game as they ran in seven tries to remain unbeaten in the competition and establish themselves as the forerunners to lift the trophy this year.
The match got off to an expected fast start with Tuks asserting themselves early in the encounter by pegging Maties back inside their 22 for much of the opening five minutes. The Stellenbosch students settled nicely and gained the upperhand in the next five minutes but were unable to get any points on the board.
Tuks thought they scored in the 12th minute when Joshua Stander ran down a grubber and attempted to out-dive Craig Barry to the touchdown. However, Barry managed to get his hands wrapped around the ball to stop the try and concede a five-metre scrum. The home side would be rewarded in the 14th minute when Jannes Kirsten brushed off a defender before taking three more with him to get the first try of the match. The try went unconverted as Joshua Stander pulled his attempt.
Maties were on the board three minutes later when JP Lewis displayed his finishing prowess to score in the corner. He was hit by a viscous tackle two metres from the try line but remained composed to finish off a well-executed team try. Brandon Thomson made no mistake with the conversion to hand Maties an 8-5 lead.
The home side regained the lead in the 2st minute after a dominant rolling maul which allowed Wiaan Liebenberg to grab the try. Stander slotted his first kick of the match as Tuks held a 13-8 lead at the first Strategy Break. Tuks started to assert their dominance on the match and were rewarded in the 24th minute, after a patient build-up, when Reniel Hugo crashed over the try line. Stander added the extra points to extend the home side's lead to 21-8.
Tuks secured their bonus point in the 33rd minute when they set an unstoppable rolling maul which travelled about 12 metres for Rudolph Smith to dot the ball down. Stander's conversion extended the lead to 29-8. The home side continued to push for another try but were kept at-bay by a stellar Maties defence as the teams went into the halftime interval.
The home side emerged from the break and immediately scored their fifth try of the match when Dewald Human showed exceptional stepping skills and blistering speed to tear the Maties defenders apart in the 42nd minute. Stander added another conversion to extend Tuks' lead to 29 points.
Tuks were not done yet as they continued to put the visitor under all sorts of pressure. Maties defence were at sixes and sevens in the 50th minute when a well-executed backline move found Jermaine Kleinsmith on the left touchline and the wing made no mistake in adding the home side's sixth try. Stander added his fifth conversion to extend the lead to 45-8.
Maties failed to hold onto the ball long enough to launch a meaningful attack and found themselves even further behind in the 71st minute when Nqobisiswe Mxoli crashed over the line to bring up 50 points for the home side. Stander added the conversion as Tuks led 53-8 with eight minutes left in the match.
The remainder of the match was spent in Maties territory as Tuks pressed for an eighth try but it was not to be as they claimed a comfortable 45-point victory.
FNB Player that Rocks: Jannes Kirsten
Tries: Kirsten, Liebenberg, Hugo, Smith, Human, Kleinsmith, Mxoli
Cons: Stander 6
FNB UP-Tuks: 15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Riaan Britz, 13 Ryan Nell, 12 Daniel Kriel, 11 Jermaine Kleinsmith, 10 Joshua Stander, 9 André Warner, 8 Rudolph Smith, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg (captain), 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jan Enslin, 17 Nqobisiswe Mxoli, 18 Dennis Visser, 19 Clyde Davids, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Dewald Human, 22 John Jackson, 23 Neethling Fouche.
FNB Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Brandon Asher-Wood, 13 Christoff van Tonder, 12 Koos Loubser, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Jean Nel, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Lungelo Chonco, 6 Beyers de Villiers, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys (captain), 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Niel Oelofse.
Replacements: 16 Neethling Gericke, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Janco Venter, 19 Justin Benn, 20 Bjorn Bernardo, 21 Ernst Stapelberg, 22 Kyle Leibrandt, 23 Jacobus van der Merwe.
Referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Jaco Kotze
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Willie Vos