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FNB Maties crowned Varsity Cup 2018 champs

FNB Maties winners of Varsity Cup Rugby match between FNB Maties and FNB NWU Pukke at Stellenbosch Sports Stadium in Cape Town on April 16, 2018

FNB Maties were crowned Varsity Cup 2018 winners when they beat FNB NWU 40-7 at the Danie Craven stadium on Monday evening.

The Danie Craven stadium was brought to its feet on Monday evening when FNB Maties finally got the monkey off their back as they clinched their fourth Varsity Cup trophy. It has taken seven years and three consecutive finals for the Maroon Machine to finally break their trophy drought.

The boisterous sell-out crowd at the stadium on Monday sang FNB NWU off the field in the 79th minute when replacement prop Ricky Nwagbara scored for the home team taking the final score to 40-7 with the conversion by flyhalf Chris Smith.

FNB Maties started their third consecutive final on a good note. The home team certainly were looking to catch FNB NWU out wide and they did on numerous occasions but were let down by their composure in crucial areas inside FNB NWU’s territory.

For all their control, it would only be in the 19th minute when FNB Maties would open the scoring. The home team’s dominant scrum, which has been a key feature all season earned them a penalty try. FNB Maties pinned themselves on FNB NWU’s five metre and with three consecutive penalties, referee AJ Jacobs awarded the seven points FNB Maties’ way.

FNB Maties extended their lead in the 31st minute through Smith who slotted a drop goal, yet it would be FNB NWU who would have the last say of the first half as they cut down their deficit to three through via a Tiaan Bezuidenhout try. Schalk Hugo slotted the conversion and the visiting team went into the half time break trailing 10-7.

FNB Maties struck early in the second half. After the kickoff, FNB NWU strung together a couple of phases before a looping pass was well read by winger Edwill van der Merwe who intercepted for a seven point try. Smith added the extras and all of a sudden FNB Maties were 19-7 ahead.

FNB Maties lock Johan Momsen would extend the home side’s lead to 26 points in the 53rd minute when he barged over from close range and from there FNB Maties looked on course to claim the Varsity Cup trophy and claim it they did. From there on, it was a matter of game management for FNB Maties.

The Maroon Machine kept their shape on attack and were equally good on defence. The home team didn’t stop probing though and would get just reward when Munier Hartzenberg sealed the deal for the home team before Nwagbara confirmed the result: FNB Maties – Varsity Cup champions, 2018.

FNB Player That Rocks: Johan van Niekerk (FNB Maties)

FNB Maties: 40
: Edwill van der Merwe; Johan Momsen; Munier Hartzenberg; Ricky Nwagbara
: Chris Smith (4)
Drop goals:
Chris Smith

: Tiaan Bezuidenhout
: Schalk Hugo

FNB Maties:
15 Carlisle Nel, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Christopher Smith, 9 Remu Malan, 8 Marno Redelinghuys, 7 Chris Massyn, 6 Johan van Niekerk, 5 Johan Momsen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Chippie Oelofse (C)
Replacements: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Ricky Nwagbara, 18 Piet-Louw Strauss, 19 Brandon Valentyn, 20 Stefan Streicher, 21 Brandon Nel, 22 Munier Hartzenberg, 23 Jordan Chait

FNB NWU:  15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Jimmy Mpailane, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Akhona Nela, 11 Dean Stokes, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Tiaan Bezuidenhout, 7 Estehan Visagie, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Robert Hunt, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Matimu Manganyi
Subs: 16 Percy Mngadi, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Theodore Ferreira, 19 Jaco Swanepoel, 20 Wandile Mazibuko, 21 Nkosana Mbatha, 22 Henko Marais, 23 Justin Newman

FNB CUT survive FNB WSU scare to remain in Varsity Cup

Mothusi Xolowethu from FNB WSU during Varsity Promotion Relegation Rugby match between FNB WSU and FNB CUT at Stellenbosch Sports Stadium in Cape Town on April 16, 2018

FNB CUT have secured their spot in the Varsity for 2019 after scraping past FNB WSU, 37-31 in a promotion-relegation battle at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday.

The two sides met to decide who would play in the Varsity Cup after FNB WSU finished second on the overall table in the Varsity Shield, while FNB CUT slumped to second on the Varsity Cup log which saw them play in the promotion-relegation game.

FNB WSU were out of the blocks early after star flanker Mihlali Mosi crashed over the line. The All Blacks did well to secure possession in the FNB CUT 22-metre area after intercepting the Bloemfontein side’s lineout. Flyhalf Beauton Pholman gave an inside ball for Mosi to score under the posts. Pholman added the extras making it 7-0.

FNB CUT made an attempt to hit back just afterwards. The men in blue went wide with number eight Stefan Kruger conducting play but the ball was lost forward in the final pass.

Tiaan Liebenberg’s men finally got onto the scoreboard after using their heavy forwards to pull the FNB WSU defence to the left side of the field before spreading it right with winger Erasmus Breedt getting over the line.

FNB CUT took the lead for the first time in the game after utilising a driving maul well to push FNB WSU over for a try in the corner through captain Tiaan Erasmus.

Mosi scored his second try of the game after winger Athenkosi Ndzenene picked up a no-where kick from FNB CUT and ran 40 metres before going down thanks to a last-gasp ankle tap. Ndzenene popped off the ball to Mosi who finished off the seven-point try under the sticks with Pholman getting the conversion.

FNB CUT responded well though with Breedt getting over, in a try very similar to the first one, FNB CUT utilised the field position well and sent it wide.

The men from the East London finished the first half with a 16-15 lead.

FNB WSU started off the second-half well with a beautiful long penalty from full-back Xakwane Lusanda to compound their lead. FNB CUT scored moments later through another forward drive and grabbed the lead.

The Eastern Cape locals were so close to taking the lead back from FNB CUT after beautiful set piece move saw Sinegugu Lituka dot down in the corner, but it was deemed a knock on by the TMO.

FNB CUT flyhalf Denver Klue then scored in the corner to grab a solid 25-19 lead going in the last Strategy break.

The All Blacks weren’t done yet though and called a Power Play just after the Strategy Break. They used it effectively and star hooker Maliviwe Simanga ran from his own half to grab a seven-point try take the lead and make the score 28-25.

FNB CUT called their Power Play immediately afterwards. FNB WSU’s defence held FNB CUT out for the Power Play but the men from Bloemfontein used the time to gain valuable field position to earn a scrum on the FNB WSU five metre line. FNB CUT retook the lead once again after scoring a try through another maul off the line out with Sylvester Makakole dotting down.

FNB CUT number nine Ruben de Haas scored a last-gasp try to seal his side’s status in the FNB Varsity Cup.


Tries: Breedt, Van Schalkwyk, Denver Kleu, Tiaan Erasmus

Cons: Dimitri Tieties (2), Denver Kleu (2)


Tries: Mihlali Mosi (2), Maliviwe Simanga

Cons: Beauton Pholman (4)

Pens: Xakwane Lusanda

FNB CUT Ixias:
15 Dimitri Tieties 14 Masego Toolo, 13 Ruan Wasserman, 12 Marnu Van Niekerk, 11 Erasmus Breedt, 10 Denver Klue, 9 Ruben De Haas, 8 Stefan Kruger, 7 Ruan Smit, 6 Johannes Terblanche, 5 Sylvester Makakole, 4 Brendon Fortuin, 3 Stefan Van Schalkwyk, 2 Tiaan Erasmus, 1 Quintin Vorster

Subs: 16 LW Viljoen, 17 Raynard Esterhuizen, 18 Henco Smit, 19 Thabo Chirwa, 20 Dian Dry, 21 Dean Jacobs, 22 Tiisetso Madonsela, 23 Karabo Maqeba

FNB WSU: 15 Xakwane Lusanda, 14 Yamkela Nyembe, 13 Sinegugu Lituka, 12 Mihlali Nchukana, 11 Athenkosi Ndzenene, 10 Beauton Pholman, 9 Henrico Koester, 8 Chumani Mjacu, 7 Mihlali Mosi, 6 Wam Mbana, 5 Xolowethu Jantjie, 4 Bonginkosi Ngqushwa, 3 Phumlani Blaauw, 2 Maliviwe Simanga, 1 Masonwabe Ngcem

Subs: 16 Masixole Gubeni, Thokozani, 17 Ziyinqaba Mhlauli, 18 Xolani Jacobs, 19 Mthandazo Gcumeni, 20 Anathi Shenxane, 21 Thembani Kori, 22 Tebogo Madigoe, 23 Khulekani Buthelezi

FNB NWU wins the inaugural Gaz’Lam Trophy

FNB NWU have claimed the Gaz’Lam Trophy in the first year of the competition after 8194 units of blood were donated in the university’s name.

FNB Varsity Cup, SANBS and the WPBTS today announced that FNB NWU have won the inaugural Gaz’Lam Trophy.

In a scintillating end to the competition, FNB NWU took the lead in the last week of the competition to claim the trophy after trailing since the first week of the competition.

FNB NWU finish with 8194 units of blood donated, FNB Tuks is right behind them with 7821 units and FNB UJ claimed third place with 4969 donations.

FNB Varsity Cup together with SANBS and WPBTS embarked on a mission to increase blood donation amongst South Africa’s youth. Gaz’Lam is a popular slang term meaning “blood brother”. This year the FNB Player that Rocks wore pink shorts, which represented the blood donation endeavour.

With the competition now closed, the initiative has led to over 37 655 donors donating blood, specifically on behalf of their favourite FNB Varsity Cup and FNB Varsity Shield teams.  This monumental effort has helped save over 112 965 lives.

FNB NWU team received the auspicious and new Gaz’Lam Trophy at the FNB Varsity Cup final. The SANBS and WPBTS wanted to create a trophy to symbolize the formidable contribution that the FNB Varsity Cup and its fans have made to saving lives through blood donation.

“The goal was to make something unique, eye catching and symbolic which would resonate with the fans. A blood bag filled to the shape of a rugby ball was the final idea which was chosen.

“It was an idea of the trophy was born directly from the essence of the campaign and to resonate with the concept of #maketheteam in the sense that the tournament directly influences the lives saved through blood transfusions. Due to its unique shape, usual trophy making methods could not produce the correct result, hence why a custom-made 3D print had to be commissioned. All parties involved are very proud of the outcome and hope this inspires more participation in blood donation from the FNB Varsity Cup, the teams, the fans and the country as a whole.”

FNB Varsity Cup Chief Marketing Officer Michael Varney is ecstatic with the contribution the partnership has made to the cause of blood donation and congratulated FNB NWU on their resounding victory.

“It’s phenomenal that the competition has been so well supported in its first year and that the communities behind the participating universities have heeded the call to donate blood. With all the support, we have saved in excess of 100 000 lives.

“FNB Varsity Cup would like to congratulate FNB NWU who have epitomised our theme of #maketheteam.”

The final winner of the Gaz’Lam Trophy was announced at the FNB Varsity Cup final, where FNB Maties hosted FNB NWU at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday, April 16 at 19:00

FNB UWC will look to defend their title and win their second FNB Varsity Shield when they host FNB WSU at the University of the Western Cape Stadium on Monday.

Chester William’s charges have marched through all competition in their way this season, earning themselves a spot in the FNB Varsity Shield final as well as promotion to FNB Varsity Cup in 2019.

FNB UWC have gone unbeaten, earning a massive points difference of 396 and claiming a bonus point in all of their games. The Bushies will be confident going into the game considering the last time these two teams met, the home side dispatched the men from East London 42-5.

FNB WSU will argue they were a very different team in Round 1, and they have indeed come a long way. Since their pervious encounter, FNB WSU have won all their games, putting in some big score lines, including a 38-21 victory over FNB CPUT and a 47-16 dismantling over FNB Rhodes. It has been their ability to grind out games under pressure which has been the most impressive part of FNB WSU’s game, including a 20-16 victory over FNB UFH and a 30-21 semi-final win over FNB UKZN in the rain.

The All Blacks have put in some sublime displays led by a lean and potent loose forward trio as well as a mobile front-row. All Blacks hooker Maliviwe Simanga proved to be an enigma for most defences, astute attacking lines from fly-half Pholman Beauton constantly kept the defence on the back foot and the diligent leadership of tight-head prop Phumlani Blaauw kept the team grounded.

FNB UWC will rely on their hard-working forward pack to lay a good platform for their electric back line to launch threatening attacks from. Eighthman Adriaan Paarwater has been the epitome of a work horse for the Bushies, while their fly-half Aidynn Cupido and Kurt-Lee Arendse have been lethal on attack with the latter scoring seven tries for his team.

Winning the FNB Varsity Shield will be significant for both sides, with FNB UWC wanting to prove their sheer superiority and leave nothing behind before being promoted to FNB Varsity Cup. For FNB WSU it will be their first chance at the FNB Varsity Shield and won’t want to miss the opportunity.

FNB UWC will defend their title against FNB WSU at 19:00 on 9 April at the UWC Stadium, live on SuperSport.