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Rugby | Varsity Cup

Wits © Photo Shelter

Wits weather the CUT storm

The FNB Varsity Cup swiftly moved to Round Two, with FNB Wits notching up their first win of 2019 by beating FNB CUT 25-15 under wet conditions at the Wits Rugby Stadium in Johannesburg.

The game was also paused midway through the second half, with the threat of lightning in the horizon. However, that could not stop the hosts powering to their first victory of the campaign, after having suffered a defeat at the hands of champions, the FNB Maties in Stellenbosch in Round One.

The match got underway with both sides having to take unique approaches in their game plans, with the rain bucketing down right from the start, making it really difficult to hold on to the ball. However, it took FNB Wits just 10 minutes to cross the white wash, after winger Kwanele Ngema received a cross kick on the right-hand side of the pitch, to beat a few FNB CUT defenders on his way to dotting down.

FNB Wits flyhalf Chris Humphries unfortunately failed to add the extra 2 and the Witsies led 5-0. The rest of the half saw the kickers trade kicks, with FNB CUT’s inside centre Heinrich Bitzi slotting two penalties, while FNB Wits’ Humphries put away one to see the hosts lead 8-6 at the break.

The second half saw the rain continue to give the surface extra grease, with handling errors causing a headache for the referee, who often had to blow his whistle breaking the game’s continuity. FNB CUT did hit out first in the half, again through a penalty slotted by Bitzi’s boot to see the men from Bloemfontein take the lead for the very first time in the match, with the score at 8-9.

FNB Wits hit back very quickly, just under a minute later through the silky movement of speedster Kapepulo Kasende, who from close range wormed his way past a stern FNB CUT defence to dash over in the corner, taking the score to 13-9. FNB CUT replied in quick succession through the boot of Heinrich Bitzi, who sent through two penalty attempts, giving the men from the Free State the lead once again at 15-13.

Play was then halted for a few moments, with the thunderstorm threatening to kill off the game as the players had to be pulled off the pitch for safety. When play did eventually resume moments later, speedster Kwanele Ngema made it a brace with another unconverted try for the Witsies. The game ended with FNB Wits getting a bonus-point try, but this time it was a penalty try, seeing the hosts run out 25-15 winners, and scoring four tries in the process.


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