Article by supersport.com
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 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 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.
Maties started their third consecutive final on a good note. The home team certainly were looking to catch NWU out wide and they did on numerous occasions, but were let down by their composure in crucial areas inside NWU’s territory.
For all their control, fans had to wait until the 19th minute for Maties to open the scoring. The home team’s dominant scrum, which has been a key feature all season, earned them a penalty try. Maties pinned themselves on NWU’s five-metre, and with three consecutive penalties, referee AJ Jacobs awarded the seven points FNB Maties’ way.
Maties extended their lead in the 31st minute through Smith, who slotted a drop goal, yet it would be NWU who would have the last say of the first half as they cut down their deficit to three via a Tiaan Bezuidenhout try. Schalk Hugo slotted the conversion and the visiting team went into the halftime break trailing 10-7.
Maties struck early in the second half. After the kickoff, 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 Maties were 19-7 ahead.
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 Maties looked on course to claim the Varsity Cup trophy, and that they did. From there on, it was a matter of game management for Maties.
The Maroon Machine kept their shape in 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 them, before Nwagbara confirmed the result: FNB Maties – Varsity Cup champions, 2018.
FNB Player That Rocks: Johan van Niekerk (Maties).
Maties: 40 - Tries: Edwill van der Merwe; Johan Momsen; Munier Hartzenberg; Ricky Nwagbara. Conversions: Chris Smith (4). Drop goal: Chris Smith
NWU: 7 - Tries: Tiaan Bezuidenhout. Conversion: Schalk Hugo
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
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
Replacements:16 Percy Mngadi, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Theodore Ferreira, 19 Jaco Swanepoel, 20 Wandile Mazibuko, 21 Nkosana Mbatha, 22 Henko Marais, 23 Justin Newman