UJ sets back Pukke’s claim
The NWU Pukke’s hope of playing a home semi-final match in this year’s Varsity Cup series was torn to in tatters when they were surprised by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) 23-22 in Potchefstroom on Monday evening.
Andrew van Wyk, right wing of the Puk, scores his try in the eleventh minute of the match
Fhoto: Mario van der Wahl
The Pukke, who were considered one of the big favourites prior to the series, have already lost two of their four matches and are now fighting for survival with a show-down against the leader Maties, which is, on top of it all, beckoning dangerously.
A promising start by the home team and an umpteenth steady performance by their huge pack of forwards could not compensate for their predictability and clumsiness at the back.
On top of it all, the Pukke’s tactical decision making once more left much to be desired with this team that turned down at least three fine opportunities to send the ball soaring between the goal posts for penalty goals.
At the same time, UJ was far more clinical, on the attack and the defence, than last week against Maties and, had it not been for the deadly aiming of full-back, Theuns Kotze, and a push-over try by the substitute lock, Edwin Hewitt, shortly before the final whistle, the Pukke could even have got an even worse bloody nose.
Andrew van Wyk, the home team’s right wing, opened the Potchefstroomers’ account in the eleventh minute, after which fly-half, Niëll Jacobs, burst through the UJ defence shortly after. Kotze converted one of these tries, before Bernardo Botha went to score the first of his three tries.
This speed glutton consistently put the Pukke’s shabby defence to a test and darted through them just before the water break to make the visitors turn around with 15-12.
Botha’s wing mate, Lolo Waka, stretched UJ’s lead a few minutes later when he completed a plucky back move with a deadly side step. A Luus drop goal sealed the Pukke’s fate, before Hewitt fell over in the final gasps of the match.
The Pukke’s twins, Niëll and Ruan Jacobs, admittedly were far better than in this team’s close shave victory last week against the Shimlas. Nevertheless, the Potchefstroomers’ monkeying about in the middle field will cause Rudy Joubert, the coach, sleepless nights.
Points: Pukke 22 (12): Tries: Drew van Wyk, Niëll Jacobs, Edwin Hewitt; Goal kicks: Theuns Kotze 2; Penalty goals: Kotze. UJ 23 (15): Tries: Bernardo Botha 2, Lolo Waka; Penalty kick: Ryno Luus; Penalty goals: Luus 2.
Published by Nikki Nel on 23 February 2010.