UP win Varsity Cup in a thrilling final

CASTRO SENOKO
The Varsity Cup final was played at the Tuks Ruby Stadium on Monday evening in front of a sold-out crowd. UP came into the final having beaten the Shimlas in their semi-final encounter. UP were expected to do well in the fiercely anticipated final against  Maties.

The match’s starting pace was intense, with both teams’ backs running at each other. This resulted in a few mistakes made by UP, which presented Maties with the first try of the match in the 5th minute from lock Jaco Venter. The additional points were converted by flyhalf Chris Smith. It did not take the home team a long time to reply as UP’s Captain and flank, Chris Massyn, ran in for UP’s first try of the match after some neat interchange by the team. Flyhalf Tinus de Beer converted the try to equal the score.

The teams continued to play exciting running ruby with a few long kicks. Maties’ Smith and Tiaan Swanepoel slotted two penalties. Maties were outstanding in making turnovers throughout the first 30 minutes of the match and most of the first half was played in UP’s territory. The dominance by the away team did not prove fruitful as Tinus de Beer converted two penalties in the 30th and 40th minute to change the score to 13-15.

The second half started at an expected slower pace as both sides felt the effects of the running ruby played in the first opening 15 minutes of the first half. Both teams resorted to long kicks into the opposing team’s territory in the hopes of forcing mistakes from the respective fullbacks. The tactic proved fruitful for Maties as they scored the first points of the second half through a penalty scored by substituted flyhalf William Smith, which set the score to 13-18. It did not take UP long to run in for their second try of the match. In the 46th minute, outside-centre Divan Rossouw intercepted a wayward pass to score a try. UP’s Tinus de Beer not only converted the penalty, but nailed another one in the 53rd minute to extend UP’s lead to 25-18. The teams exchanged penalties, which included another successful penalty kick for UP’s Tinus de Beer. The home team won the match with a solid score of 28-21 to become the 2017 Varsity Cup champions.
Speaking to Perdeby, UP’s coach said that he was ecstatic with the win, that they were very happy to be the first team to beat Maties twice in a year, and that they had only lost one match dating back to November. He also thanked the massive crowd that came out despite the public holiday. The Player That Rocks was awarded to UP’s Ryan Nash, who thanked his team for helping him play well, stating that it was a team effort. He also thanked the fans for backing the team in the semi-final and the final.
UP’s Gizelle Venske was crowned Miss Varsity Cup 2017, while First Princess was awarded to Maties’ Lethukwenama Letsoalo and Second Princess to UJ’s Zanele Leon. 

 

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