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Varsity Cup comes to FNB Stadium

Varsity Cup resumed at FNB Stadium with the next round to take place on Monday, March 21.

VARSITY Cup made its welcome return on Monday, March 14, at FNB Stadium after a three-week stoppage due to the protests of students at various universities.

The ‘catch-up’ matches were all concluded in the safe environment of the stadium and are now well on track.

The University of Johannesburg (FNB UJ) suffered a defeat at the hands of the University of Pretoria (FNB Tuks). The near neighbours gave full account of a powerful display of their front row to unsettle UJ and won the match 43-8. With this effort, FNB Tuks raked in a bonus-point while FNB UJ suffered their first defeat in the opening three rounds.

Rain before kick-off meant that an expansive game would be difficult to execute effectively, and it would be the team that kicked out-of-hand the best that would likely end on the right side of the scoreboard. FNB Tuks adapted to the conditions the best, with superb defence and tactical kicking outplaying an FNB UJ outfit that struggled to hold onto the ball in the wet conditions.

FNB Tuks couldn’t have started the game better, with a great kick leading to an FNB Tuks line-out on FNB UJ’s five-metre line. The Pretoria men made it count, scoring the match’s opening try moments later through a strong rolling maul.

The weather continued to disadvantage FNB UJ as early knock-ons and slipped tackles limited their attacking opportunities. FNB Tuks continued to apply pressure through well-placed kicking, which produced a penalty in the 17th minute. Joshua Stander stepped up to add the three points.

A malfunctioning line-out added to FNB UJ’s woes as FNB Tuks scored one of the tries of the season. Great hands, despite the conditions, produced a magnificent nine-point try. The subsequent conversion opened up a 16-point gap between the two sides after 20 minutes. Six minutes later, FNB Tuks showcased their defence as they shut down an FNB UJ maul to maintain their lead.

The remainder of the first half was dominated by reset scrums as neither side were able to gain ascendency on the wet pitch. FNB Tuks continued to be strong on defence, resisting several attacking runs by FNB UJ. FNB Tuks let a few opportunities go a begging themselves, but were able to add three more points through a penalty just before half-time.

FNB UJ started the second half well with their first try of the match in the 43rd minute, but that would be the first and last time FNB Tuks’ defence would be exposed. The Pretoria side would continue to play the conditions, using their superior line-out and kicking to create opportunities to score. FNB Tuks’, Aston Fortuin, seized one such opportunity by taking a quick tap close to FNB UJ’s line to score their third try. Stander would miss the conversion, but it would have little effect on the game as their fourth try in the 67th minute all but handed FNB Tuks their first win of the season.

One last try in the 78th minute rubbed salt into the wounds of FNB UJ and closed off an emphatic result for FNB Tuks as they recorded a comfortable 43-8 victory.

Ultimately, it was FNB Tuks’ strong defence, superior line-out and ability to adapt to the conditions that handed them their first win of the season and FNB UJ’s first defeat. Highlighting just how quickly a team’s fortune can change.

In other results FNB Maties demolished FNB UCT in a derby clash.

The FNB Maties showcased their dominance in this year’s FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International once again when they trashed arch rivals, FNB UCT 60-13 at a wet FNB Stadium.

FNB Shimlas edged FNB CUT in a tense Bloemfontein derby.

Defending champions FNB Shimlas converted a penalty with just a minute to play as they defeated local rivals FNB CUT 10-9 on Monday.

FNB Pukke earned a much-needed victory over FNB Madibaz.

In a match dominated by the Potchefstroom men, FNB Pukke led from start to finish as they outplayed FNB Madibaz 46-18 Monday afternoon.

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