UJ scrapes through the battle for Joburg

UJ win a line-out.

WESTDENE – The University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Wits University held a colossal struggle for the battle of Joburg in their FNB Varsity Cup match, with UJ’s grit only just taking them over the line.

The Joburg derby was held in front of a roaring full crowd at UJ Stadium on 20 March, but in the end there could be only one winner.

A series of back-and-forth tries, conversions and penalties meant that both teams took the lead on several occasions. The score was 18–18 at half time, and it looked like it could go either way.

But UJ turned the screw in the second half, and were solid in defence.

A nail-biting 28–23 win for the home side cemented their spot in the semi-finals, even before the last round of group games on 27 March, while leaving Wits incapable of making the top four before the knockout stage.

“It was an immense game, the build up to this game was bigger than everything we’ve played so far in the campaign,” said UJ coach, Werner Janse van Rensburg.

“Even though we made some errors we won’t be proud of, the guys had the guts and mental ability to stay in the contest until the end.”

He commended Wits for their strong performance in the cup after being promoted from the FNB Varsity Shield last year.

Wits coach, Hugo van As commented, “On the night our discipline and individual mistakes cost us. The three yellow cards and high tackle here and there were a problem.”

He added that Wits have established themselves as competitors in cup, and that was their goal from the beginning.

“Of course, making the semis became our dream, but we reached our goal.”

UJ number eight, Jo-Hanko de Villiers was named the Player That Rocks. “We knew it would be hard against Wits and we came with a plan, and did it, and it worked out for us,” he smiled.

Nicholas Zaal and Siso Naile

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