Maties march to final
VARSITY CUP REPORT: Three-time Varsity Cup champions Maties advanced to the 2017 Final after a hard-fought 22-14 win over UJ at the Danie Craven Stadium.
Just seven day ago, Maties handed UJ a 65-19 hiding in Round Nine.
However, this was a different UJ side they went up against in the semifinals. The Johannesburg-based side were more determined as they chased a maiden Final.
The visitors were the first to score. UJ won a penalty inside Maties' half and Divan Nel asked for a shot a gaol. The flyhalf made no mistake as he popped over the penalty to hand his side the 3-0 lead after 4 minutes of play.
The Maties' try had been threatening and as soon as the hosts calm down in the 10th minute, centre Michal Hazner's great footwork and hard work inside his own half, was well-rounded of by Kyle Steyn who scored the first try of the match.
Stapelberg added the extras, Maties led 9-3 after 11 minutes.
Again Maties found themselves inside the UJ's 22 but handling errors and ill-discipline got the better of them.
With every Maties mistake, UJ countered. They found space inside Maties' half and with a penalty advantage in the bag, flyhalf Nel slotted the drop-goal to trail, 6-9 after 15 minutes of play.
After the strategy break, Nel levelled matters with a successful penalty just inside the Maties' 22.
With the score levelled, Maties looked rattled, they continued to give away penalties inside their own half. Lucky for the Danie Craven faithful, Nel was off-target with two penalty attempts and the score remained locked at 9-all.
Instead, his counterpart Stapelberg handed his side the lead with two successful penalties, just before the break, 15-9.
Maties were the first out on the pitch as the second half commenced. The hosts started like a house on fire and were soon on the board thanks to captain reliable Craig Barry.
The fullback seized the open space and only had the line to beat. Stapelberg added the extra two points, 22-9 after 50 minutes of play.
The strategy break and fresh legs proved fruitful for Werner Janse van Rensburg's troops. Centre Jaco Fourie's line break got his side in the Maties' 22 and sent Ronald Brown over for UJ's first try in the 62nd minute.
The game ended in dramatic fashion as both teams called for the white cards referrals well after the 80-minute mark.
First Maties challenged followed by UJ's referral for potential offside inside the Maties' 22. However, the TMO overruled both and Van der Merwe's decision stood.
Chris Smith kicked the ball to touch and that is how it stood, much to the relief of the home crown.
Tries: Steyn, Barry
Cons: Stapelberg 2
Pens: Stapelberg 2
Pens: Nel 2
Maties: 15 Craig Barry (captain), 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Theo Stapelberg, 9 Brendon Nell, 8 Devon Nash, 7 Stephan Streicher, 6 Mitchell Carstens, 5 Johan Momsen, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Jacobus van der Merwe, 2 Craig Corbett, 1 Niel Oelofse.
Replacements: 16 Hendrik Luus, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Wikus Groenewald, 19 Ruben De Villiers, 20 Saud Abrahams, 21 Paul De Wet, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Duncan Saal.
UJ: 15 Ewan Adams, 14 Peter-John Walters, 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 12 Jaco Fourie, 11 Godfrey Ramaboea, 10 Divan Nel, 9 Johan Esterhuizen, 8 Jo-Hanko De Villiers, 7 Leon Massyn, 6 Wian Conradie, 5 Adrian Bester, 4 Kevin Du Randt, 3 Nico Du Plessis, 2 Jannes Snyman (captain), 1 Dillon Bakos.
Replacements: 16 Le Roux Baard, 17 Kyle Kruger, 18 Chergin Fillies, 19 Kyle van Dalen, 20 Reinhardt Nothnagel, 21 Devon Mare, 22 Ronald Brown, 23 Carlisle Jordaan.
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Divan Uys, Nathan Swartz
TMO: Shaun Veldsman