DAN LOMBARD

FNB UP-Tuks lost 16-18 to FNB Maties at the Tuks Rugby Stadium last Monday. Tuks made many mistakes but will take positives out of the game.

Tuks started off strongly. The home side’s nerves were quickly settled when prop Juan Schoeman scored in the corner after five minutes. Tuks fly-half Tian Schoeman kicked the conversion to give Tuks an 8-0 lead.

Tuks kept the visitors at bay until just after the first strategy break when Maties scrum-half James Alexander scored. Fly-half JH Potgieter converted to draw Maties level with Tuks.

The Pretoria team did not take long to strike back, with a penalty try being awarded to Tuks. Riaan Britz was high tackled by Maties wing Dean Hammond in the process of scoring. Tian Schoeman succeeded with the conversion attempt, giving Tuks a 16-8 lead. Hammond was shown a yellow card for the infringement.

Maties had the last say in the first half when centre Mark Hodgkiss cut through the Tuks defence to score under the poles. Potgieter converted to level the scores again. The first half ended 16-16.

The second half was more tense than the first. Tuks forced Maties to defend for most of the second 40 minutes. Tuks were dealt a major blow when playmaker Tian Schoeman was taken off the field due to an injury.

Maties took the lead with minutes remaining when replacement fly-half Dean Grant slotted a penalty after Tuks were penalised for bringing down a maul.

Tuks pushed hard for the winning try, putting through phase after phase, but were held up over the try line, allowing Maties to take a dramatic 16-18 win.

Tuks captain for the night William Small-Smith told Perdeby that his team “played well for many phases but too many unforced errors kept Maties in the game. Hats off to Maties as it’s difficult to come to Pretoria and win but in the end we lost against ourselves.”

Photo: Brad Donald

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