Stapelberg kicks Maties to victory
VARSITY CUP REPORT: Precision kicking by flyhalf Theo Stapelberg ensured Maties claimed a nail-biting 26-14 victory over Wits in Stellenbosch.
It was not all rosy for the home side though as Wits made them work hard for the victory. Wits scored the only try of the first half, but two Stapelberg penalties ensured the home side took a 6-5 lead into the break.
It took the home side just five minutes to break the deadlock when Theo Stapelberg slotted the first penalty of the match but the Maroon Machine were left stunned soon after.
Wits No.8 Jethro de Lange made his way over the line to hand the visitors a slender 5-3 lead in the 12th minute and they maintained that lead until the first strategy break.
Maties pulled themselves together at the resumption of play and managed to regain the lead in the 23rd minute when Stapelberg landed his second penalty of the evening to take a 6-5 lead.
The match remained tense from that point and neither side were able to add to the scoreline before half-time.
It was all Maties at the resumption of play, Craig Corbett grabbed his side's first try of the game. Stapelberg added the extras to hand the home side a 13-5 lead after 46 minutes.
They extended their lead just two minutes later when Kyle Steyn grabbed a seven-point try. Stapelberg failed with the conversion though but the home side now enjoyed a 20-5 lead.
Wits then grabbed their first points of the second half when Ruan Cloete slotted a penalty in the 51st minute. The momentum was clearly with the visitors and they received a boost a few minutes later when Maties flank Janco Venter was given his marching orders.
Cloete then brought his side three points closer with a cheeky drop goal in the 56th minute to see them trail 11-20. Cloete was on the money again in the 60th minute when he slammed home another penalty to bring his side to within six-points of the home side.
However, just when it seemed like the visitors would stage a dramatic comeback, Stapelberg slotted two late penalties to ensure his side grabbed the all-important victory.
Tries: Corbett, Steyn
Pens: Stapelberg 4
Try: de Lange
Pens: Cloete 2
Red card: Janco Venter (Maties)
Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Kyle Steyn, 12 Braam Venter, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Theo Stapelberg, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Janco Venter, 6 Mitchell Carstens, 5 Ernst van Rhyn, 4 John Groenewald, 3 Christian Hamman, 2 Craig Corbett, 1 Niel Oelofse.
Replacements: 16 Hendrik Luus, 17 Jake Blew, 18 Wikus Groenewald, 19 Saud Abrahams, 20 Devon Nash, 21 Logan Boonzaaier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Michal Haznar.
Wits: 15 Luxulo Ntsepe, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 AJ van Blerk, 12 Brandan Hewitt, 11 Josh Jarvis, 10 Warren Gilbert (captain), 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Jethro de Lange, 7 Constant Beckerling, 6 Ruan Macdonald, 5 Rhyno Herbst, 4 Graham Logan, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 CJ Conradie, 1 CJ Greeff.
Replacements: 16 Justin Brandon, 17 Brandon Palmer, 18 Pascal Snyman, 19 Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt, 20 Jarred Branco, 21 Lwazi Monakali, 22 Themba Mpemvu, 23 Ameer Williams.
Referee: Francois Pretorius
Assistant referees: Local