How can this runaway Maties train be stopped?
They annihilated the Pukke, second-placed team on the Varsity Cup log before this match by 43-15 at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday night with a try just after the first minute setting the pattern for the match, and in all scored five tries to two.
Maties are now convincing log leaders with a five-from-five record as can be see from the log below.
The win included a hat-trick, two of them seven-pointers, from wing Edwill van der Merwe who became the competition’s leading try scorer with his 22nd try in the Varsity Cup series.
This Maties team is probably the best since the first three years of the Varsity Cup when they won three consecutive titles in an era where they had money available to buy the best, but the score line is also a reflection of the poor Pukke side on the evening.
As good as the Pukke defence was when they won their first away match in seven matches in their last seven meetings against the Shimlas last weekend, so poorly did they defend in Stellenbosch where the Maties exploited their lack of structure and, let it be said, blatant poor tackling.
There were also turnovers aplenty, with one expected from just about every maul the Pukke entered with the ball in their possession.
Add to that 14 missed tackles in the first 46 minutes, and you have a picture of a very good side against an error-ridden unsure outfit from the North West.
Much of Pukke’s inaccurate and hesitant play, however, should be put down to the Maties effectiveness and at times brilliance.
♦ In Bloemfontein, the Shimlas fired in the first half of their match and led 37-7 at the turnover. The Ikeys Tigers came back strongly in the second half which they “won” 33-14 to eventually lose by 40-51.
The Shimlas scored seven tries but let in six by the Ikeys in a match that was very much over at halftime.
♦ Tuks simply outplayed UWC and won by 70-12 after leading 21-3 at halftime, therefore adding 49 points in the second half.
UWC had the better of the first 30 minutes, but when the dam wall broke Tuks poured over their line ten times while conceding just one try.
♦ Wits are having a less than memorable season. After a gutsy opening match against the Maties by Konrad Beckerling’s team, they now stand on a single win from their five starts and are all but mathematically out of the play-off running.
Wits lost 16-37 to neighbours UJ at the latter’s stadium just five kilometres down the road on Monday night. It was UJ’s first win of the 2019 series and their seventh from seven overall against Wits in this series.
A lacklustre Wits side made a brief fight of it in the third quarter but in the end four tries to two and the kicking of Mashudu Raphunga who scored 15 points with some impressive kicking brought about the convincing win.
Despite their meritorious win they still don’t look anything like a match for the Maties at Stellenbosch net Monday.