KHUMO MEKGWE

Ikeys (University of Cape Town) beat Pukke (University of North-West) 39-33 in a dramatic game to win their second Varsity Cup title.

Ikeys scored three tries in the last five minutes, with the last try coming after the final hooter, to snatch the title from Pukke who had led for most of the game.

Ikeys, who had not lost an away game this season, were the first on the scoreboard with a try from outside-centre Huw Jones. A missed conversion by Dean Grant kept Ikeys  five points ahead.

Pukke responded through a series of mauls that drove blindside flanker Rhyk Welgemoed over the try line which gave captain Tiaan Dorfling the chance to convert and put Pukke in the lead for the remainder of the first half at 5-8.

The lead gave Pukke some momentum after the first strategy break as minutes later left-wing Luther Obi scored Pukke’s second try in the corner of the field to put the scoreboard at 5-13.

In an attempt to score a try for his team Pukke lost their captain. Dorfling was taken off the field on a stretcher. Ikeys took advantage of the changed structure and scored their second try two minutes later. Right-wing Richard Stewart added five more points to Ikeys score but the try could not be converted.

Pukke experienced another setback when they were reduced to 14 men after centre Johan Deysel was sent off the field with a yellow card from a reckless tackle and the score remained 10-13.

Ikeys came back with momentum in the second half but their efforts were quickly stopped by Pukke’s defence as hooker Armand van der Merwe found an opportunity to extend the lead by eight points, changing the scoreboard to 10-18.

Pukke were again reduced to 14 men when another yellow card was given to prop Nhlanhla Ngcamu for a high tackle. Ikeys tried to capitalise on this advantage but a penalty to Pukke extended their lead to ten points with the core at 10-20.

Ikeys gained momentum after the second strategy break when Jason Klassen emerged from a driving maul to add five more points to Ikeys score, but Grant could not convert the try and the score remained 15-20.

The last 15 minutes of the match put Pukke in favour after Ikeys were reduced to 14 men. Pukke took full advantage as later Dillon Smit scored Pukke’s fourth try and the score was 15-28. In an attempt secure their second Varsity Cup win, lock Francois Robbertse scored Pukke’s fifth try to put the scoreboard at 33-15. Ikeys refused to settle as a converted try from Grant and another by Michael Botha put the score at 28-33.

After 80 minutes of play and what seemed like a win for Pukke, a drop goal attempt by Pukke was chased down and Ikeys substitute Nathan Nel sprinted down the field to the try line to secure the Varsity Cup title for Ikeys.

Image: varsitycup.co.za