Maties snatch a two-point victory in FNB Varsity Cup opener

Five-time FNB Varsity Cup champions, FNB Maties clinched a solid 21-19 first-round victory over the old foe, FNB Ikeys at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday, 20 February.

The home side trailed 9-16 at halftime and were kept scoreless up until the 71st minute when scrumhalf Tom Bursey crashed over for a seven-point try sending a sold out Danie Craven in overdrive. Jurie Matthee converted with just five minutes left, 18-19.

Matthee would be the eventual hero when he slotted a penalty conversion on the stroke of fulltime to hand the home side a nervy two-point victory.

It looked set for an emphatic and historic FNB Ikeys victory but the late second half surge by the home side helped them claim their 14th FNB Varsity Cup victory over the old foe, FNB Ikeys.

Credit to the visitors for a disciplined and brave all-around clinical performance.

FNB Maties took just seven minutes to open the scoring, following some brilliant line breaks from Mambo Mkhize in the midfield.

Matthee got a quick recycled ball from scrumhalf Bursey to sail across the try line for a seven-point try. The flyhalf converted his own try, 9-0.

The visitors got their first points, moments before the first half strategy break. A sniping run from Asad Moss just outside the Maties’ 22. The number nine was tackled metres from the try line, but Duran Koevert crashed over in the corner, from the second-phase ball. Ntokozo Makhaza converted from against the touchline, the visitors trailing by just two points, 9-7, at the strategy break.

Adding insult to injury following Koevert’s try, FNB Maties were reduced to 14 men when speedster Maselino Pooe received a yellow card for a high tackle on Moss.

Former FNB UWC captain, Lyle Hendricks scored a seven-point try for the FNB Ikeys. An overlap created out wide allowed Hendricks to sail across the whitewash, Makhaza converted, 9-16.

FNB Ikeys neutralised numerous resilient attacking phases from the home side. The teams headed into the break with a seven-point lead, 9-16.

The Danie Craven erupted when lock Juan Beukes powered his way across the try line, but the TMO intervened and advised the referee to cancel the already converted five-point try.

Maties were reduced, again, to 14 men, this a red card given to replacement forward Marco Van Rhyn for making contact with the head of FNB Ikey flanker, Sipho Dyonase.

According to the rules of the FNB Varsity Cup, a team will be allowed to bring on a player to restore the number of players, but it may not be the same player who got the red card.

The second half went 20 minutes without either side scoring, a 68th penalty conversion from the boot of Makhaza handed the visiting side a 10-point lead, 9-19.

The seven-point Bursey try revived the home side as the crowd got behind their team, Matthee added the extras to make it a one-point game, 18-19, as the final five minutes neared.

For Maties: 21
Tries: Jurie Matthee (7), Tom Bursey (7)
Cons: Matthee (2)
Pen: Matthee
Yellow Card: Maselino Pooe (19th minute)
Red Card: Marco Van Rhyn (59th minute)

For Ikeys: 19
Tries: Duran Koevort (5), Lyle Hendricks (7)
Cons: Ntokozo Makhaza (2)
Pen: Makhaza

FNB Maties: 15 Cade Croy, 14 Aydon Topley, 13 Mambo Mkhize, 12 Waqar Solaan, 11 Mike Mavovana, 10 Jurie Matthee, 9 Tom Bursey, 8 DeWet Marais, 7 Simon Miller, 6 Gift Dlamini (capt), 5 Juan Beukes, 4 Thys Kitshoff, 3 Corne Weilbch, 2 Siya Ngubelanga, 1 Vernon Matongo
Replacements: 16 Francois Breytonbach, 17 Louwtjie Marias, 18 Ammaar Burton, 19 Marco Van Rhyn, 20 Siya Matanda, 21 Eric Basson, 22 Mckyle Volmoer, 23 Luke Burger

FNB UCT Ikeys: 15 Duran Koevort, 14 Rethabile Louw, 13 Jonathan Roche, 12 Lyle Hendricks, 11 Ntokozo Makhaza, 10 David Hayes (capt), 9 Asad Moss, 8 Laro Delport, 7 Taariq Kruger, 6 Sipho Dyonase, 5 Johan van Rhyn, 4 Kyle Ndiao, 3 Keagan Glade, 2 Keagan Blanckenberg, 1 Christopher Pittaway,
Replacements: 16 Alex Castle, 17 Jovan Bekker, 18 Bryan Le Roux, 19 Reynhardt Crous, 20 MacLeod Smith, 21 Dylan Munro, 22 Kyle Lamb, 23 Rihaz Fredricks