Wits edge Madibaz in arm-wrestle
VARSITY CUP REPORT: Wits had to dig deep to secure a 30-20 hard-fought win against NMMU-Madibaz at the Wits Stadium.
In a match which saw the score levelled at 17-all the break, Wits outmanoeuvred an experienced Madibaz side in front a delightful home crowd.
Madibaz played with 14 men for a total of 20 minutes of the first half as Andile Jho was yellow-carded for a professional foul, while the second yellow card was given to the prop Nicholas Oosthuizen in the 33rd minute.
The home side opened the score after just 9 minutes when captain Constant Beckerling burst through the Madibaz' defence for a try after a successful scrum.
Minutes later, Madibaz were awarded a penalty, the visitors opted for the posts and flyhalf Thomas Kean made no mistake to slot over a 50-metre kick to close the gap to just two points after 16 minutes of play.
Followed by the strategy break Madibaz took the lead thanks to a Jixie Molapo's try. The wing strolled over the whitewash after a successful scrum was followed by some quick interchanging passes on the Wits' 22.
The score was levelled minutes later when Rhyno Herbst bashed over for a try. Gianni Lombard failed to slot over the extras and the score remained 10-10 after 23 minutes of play.
With eight minutes left in the first half, Madibaz took control of proceedings as they hovered on Wits' 5 metres. Eventually after some solid phases, Henry Brown scored for Madibaz. Kean extended their lead with a successful conversion, 17-10.
The lead was shortlived as a 14-man Madibaz side failed to keep out Wits' attack. No.8 Jethro de Lange went over for a try, and finally, Lombard was successful with a conversion which levelled matters at 17-all at the half-time break.
In the second half Wits' head coach Hugo van As called Warren Gilbert to the pitch, while the young star Lombard slotted to fullback. It seemed like the young prodigy enjoyed his familiar spot as he made two amazing breaks to get his side in the Madibaz' half.
Again ill-discipline took centre stage in the Madibaz' defence as prop Xandre Vos was given a yellow card for side entry after 55 minutes.
With the numeral advantage and the new technical changes it always looked like Wits was destined to score and minutes later they did just that. Replacement CJ Greef's brute force got him over the chalk for a five-pointer while regular captain Gilbert slotted over the extras, 24-17 after 60 minutes.
Just after the strategy break, Madibaz got themselves in the Wits' half and was rewarded with points after Wits conceded a penalty. Kean stepped up and narrowed the gap to four points.
With 10 minutes on the clock, Wits were caught offside inside their 22, however, the visitors opted to kick to touch but failed to win the line-out and was left empty handed.
Instead, it was Wits who ended the game on a high note. The home side was rewarded with two successful penalties in the dying minutes which made the score more flattering and sealed the win.
Tries: Beckerling, Herbst, De Lange, Greef
Cons: Lombard, Gilbert
Pens: Gilbert 2
Tries: Molapo, Brown
Pens: Kean 2
Yellow cards: Andile Jho (Madibaz, 7), Nicholas Oosthuizen (Madibaz, 33), Xandre Vos (Madibaz, 54)
Wits: 15 Luxolo Ntsepe, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Brandan Hewitt, 11 Joshua Jarvis, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Jethro De Lange, 7 Conor Brockschmidt, 6 Constant Beckerling (captain), 5 Rhyno Herbst, 4 Graham Logan, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 CJ Conradie, 1 Ameer Williams.
Replacements: 16 Justin Brandon, 17 Brandon Palmer, 18 Pascal Snyman, 19 Michael Renwick, 20 Karl Erasmus, 21 Manuel Rass, 22 AJ van Blerk, 23 CJ Greeff.
Madibaz: 15 Lindelwe Zungu, 14 Athenkosi Mayinje, 13 Ivan-John Du Preez, 12 Andile Jho, 11 Jixie Molapo, 10 Thomas Kean, 9 Lovu Claassen, 8 Kevin Kaba (Captain), 7 Justin Hollis, 6 Henry Brown, 5 Gerrit Huisamen, 4 Wynand Grassmann, 3 Nicholas Oosthuizen, 2 Jean-Pierre Jamieson, 1 Xandre Vos.
Replacements: 16 Jedwyn Harty, 17 Tembelihle Yase, 18 Nicolas Roebeck, 19 Ryeno Du Toit, 20 Hayden Tharrat, 21 Davron Cameron, 22 Simon Bolze, 23 Siphumelele Msutwana.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Johan Greeff