KATLEGO PHEEHA

After having thrashed arch rivals UJ in their first match of the 2012 FNB Varsity Cup, Tuks looked to build on their good start and did so as they proved their dominance in Pretoria by  beating neighbours, TUT Vikings, 40-0 on 13 February at the TUT stadium.

TUT had some good scoring opportunities early on but failed to take them. The lost opportunities would become the story of the game for the TUT Vikings. Only a few moments after TUT failed to capitalise on the break by Graff, his opposite number Wesley Dunlop found himself with a similar break, however the men in white made no mistake, as Dunlop made a clinical outside pass to centre Jerome Pretorius who passed on to Blommetjies, who crossed the line comfortably for the first try of the game in the seventh minute. Dunlop then kicked the three-point conversion to give Tuks an 8-0 lead.

After the first strategy break, Tuks started the second part of the first half on a high and spent most of the rest of the first half inside the TUT “22”. Tuks formed a very effective rolling maul after a great lineout on the TUT 15-metre line, however a moment of brilliant defence by TUT saw the maul overturned and the ball cleared. There was no respite for TUT as minutes later, Tuks kicked for touch after being awarded a penalty, and after another good lineout Tuks was just metres from the try but a knock-on by Pretorius saw the chance go begging. The teams went into the change rooms with Tuks still leading by only eight points.

In the second half both teams looked more energetic as they kept ball in hand and went through the phases. TUT controlled the ball well but were unable to get past the Tuks forwards. The pressure, however, began to show as TUT won a penalty close to the goal posts, but decided to kick for touch. On the 49th minute Tuks made an unexpected substitution as star fly half Dunlop came off the field and was replaced by Willie du Plessis. Tuks seemed to be taking control of the ball and territory as they patiently moved the ball toward the TUT goal line. A high tackle got Tuks awarded a penalty on the TUT five metre line, which was quickly taken by hooker Jacques Momberg, who pushed his way through three defenders to score the second try of the game. Du Plessis then kicked the conversion to give Tuks a 16-0 lead in the 53rd minute.

The flood gates seemed to open up as three minute later, centre Dabeon Draghoender showed some individual skill as he broke through the line and sprinted40 metresto score the third try of the game in the corner. Despite the difficult angle, the kick was made to look easy by du Plessis and Tuks now led 24-0. Both teams once again tried kicking for territory whenever they could, but some great team work by Tuks saw the TUT defence split open yet again and fly half du Plessis continued his great start to the season as he received an inside pass and then sprinted over the try line to give Tuks five more points plus the bonus point. He then converted his own try and Tuks looked comfortable with a 32-0 lead. Moments later, Draghoender made another great sprint after some fancy foot work and once again ran all the way to the try line, only for the try to be disallowed as theTMOdeclared it was inconclusive on the uncertain grounds of whether or not the ball was properly grounded over the line.

Tuks mounted one final attack after the siren had gone, and a good rolling maul controlled by captain Jono Ross saw Tuks awarded a penalty try. The conversion kick was good and the game ended with the score at 40-0 in favour of Tuks.

Though Tuks can be happy with their first two games of the season, which saw them winning comfortably, they will be cautious of their next challenge as they face NWU-Pukke at UP’s LC de Villiers stadium on 20 February. The North West side has proved to be a challenge for Tuks in the past, and Coach Nollis Gilbert will be aware of their ability to win big games at crucial times, and will be hoping for another good all-round performance by Tuks.

Photo by Dr Jaco Joubert

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