UJ claim bragging rights at Wits

ALL ACTION: Taine Chabant of Wits is tackled by Alan Thain of UJ during the FNB Varsity Cup rugby match between UJ and Wits at Wits Rugby Stadium. Photo: VarsitySports

On a festive Monday evening at Wits University, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) claimed top honours in the Johannesburg Varsity Cup derby, beating FNB Wits 29-17 at the Wits Rugby Stadium.

The encounter was bound to be an exciting one, but for a change with FNB Wits going into the game as favourites and sitting in the second spot on the log. FNB UJ was not too far behind in fourth position.

The game got underway with the visitors FNB UJ showing that form going into a local derby indeed goes out of the window. They got out of the starting blocks really quickly, showing intent really early to ask FNB Wits questions early on. The FNB UJ efforts were rewarded very quickly when they managed to cross over for two quick tries to take a 14-0 lead thanks to winger Odwa Nkunjana and flanker James Venter.

TAKE THE BALL: Kwanele Ngema of Wits is tackled by Dean Brown of UJ during the FNB Varsity Cup rugby match between UJ and Wits at Wits Rugby Stadium.

Kobus Engelbrecht also added the extra two points on both occasions with the boot. The hosts then finally got into the game, with a try of their own, when FNB Wits hooker CJ Conradie picked the ball up from close range to bash his way over for an unconverted try and take the score to 14-5. The rest of the half saw the two sides going at each other, with both eventually adding a try each, with FNB UJ converting theirs, whilst the Witsies failed with theirs and the two sides went into the interval with a score at 21-10 in favour of FNB UJ.

The second half saw the home side get an early edge over their crosstown rivals, when they scored a converted try thanks to Conor Brockschmidt off a driving maul, that Chris Humphries managed to convert and take the score to 21-17 to FNB UJ. The boys in blue continued to try surge forward and gain a lead but simple mistakes were letting them down.

GOING DOWN: Kevin du Randt of UJ is tackled by Ruan Cloete of Wits during the FNB Varsity Cup rugby match between UJ and Wits at Wits Rugby Stadium.

FNB UJ on the other side kept their discipline and added a try thanks to Jan-Louis La Grange, who caught the ball in the FNB Wits 22-metre area and run straight through due to FNB UJ having an overlap. The last moments of the game then saw the Orange Army of FNB UJ keep a tight defence and add three points from a penalty. That was enough for FNB UJ to give the Witsies their first home defeat of the season and earn themselves the bragging rights in Johannesburg.

FNB Shimlas obliterated by FNB NWU

In the meantime, FNB Shimlas proved to be no competition for FNB NWU, who sealed their fifth victory of the season after winning 58-21 at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds.

FNB UP-Tuks claimed their first win.

FNB UP-Tuks won their first game of FNB Varsity Cup after scoring eight tries past FNB CUT to win 54–26 in Bloemfontein.

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Annette van Schalkwyk
Sports journalist

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