The University of Johannesburg (UJ) rugby team showed a spectacular performance in a tense match against Nelson Mandela University (Madibaz) on Monday night at the UJ stadium.
Dominance and tension characterized the match as UJ clobbered a tactically inept and frustrated Madibaz team 69-8.
The high intensity game witnessed instances when some of Madibaz players nearly clenched fists through frustration. “It’s tough coming out here to UJ. It’s a tough team so there is bound to be a lot of ‘nitty gritty’ but I mean they played it well,” said Madibaz Player, Athenkosi Mayinje.
Nonetheless, a composed UJ team handled the heated atmosphere calmly. “We were maintaining the game and they got frustrated,” UJ player Wian Conrade told The Open Journal.
As such, the one-sided encounter was bound to be filled with tension as UJ dominated the game from defensive strategies all the way to attack; however, Madibaz displayed a fighting spirit but struggled to make successful combinations.
The home ground advantage seemed to have given UJ some confidence as they kick started the game with vigorous intent. Both teams sprung energetically across the field. Despite such, UJ’s clever play scored them a try courtesy of Bradley Thain, with just six minutes into the game. Kobus Englebrecht successfully converted the kick to give UJ a 7-0 lead.
Madibaz tried to exert pressure on UJ but their efforts were fruitless as poor defense continued to drag the team down. As such, a couple of minutes later UJ attacked once again earning themselves another try that raised the score to 14-0, adding another burden to Madibaz.
Nonetheless, tables turned for some minutes as Madibaz gained a grip on UJ. The pressure subsequently awarded a penalty near the 10m line, which was successfully converted by Simon Bolze who scored three points for Madibaz.
Moreover, a tactically clever UJ called for a powerplay a few minutes later. According to Varsity Rugby rules, a powerplay allows a team to take out any two players from the opponents for a few minutes.
The powerplay gave UJ a chance to pounce and Odwa Nkunjana impressively executed a ‘Usain Bolt’ run, close to the half way line, which sprung him past the Madibaz defense to score another try. Englebrecht, again, got the job done to extend the lead to 23-3.
Despite trailing behind, Madibaz fought back and managed to force a try some minutes later to give them 5 points. However, the subsequent kick was unsuccessfully converted and the score line stood at 23-8. Unfotunatley for Madibaz, it was their last try of the game as they drew their last breath before succumbing to a relentless UJ team.
Furthermore, the first half was sealed by a Jannes Snyman try, which gave UJ a 30-8 lead into the break. Again, nothing short of action was showcased in the second half. Madibaz showed true fighting spirit, but UJ continued to hammer more nails onto the coffin.
Most significant to note was Ronald browns’ quick steal of the ball from Madibaz that set up a terrific try completed by Tatendaishe Mujawo. However, the try caused some controversy amongst the players as a brawl nearly occurred.
As a result, Madibaz was penalized and given three yellow cards.
UJ then added more damage as they scored three more tries from Malembe Mpofu, Austin Davids and Hendrick Petrus Van Schoor. The atmosphere in the stadium was electrifying as many UJ fans roared in great support of the team. Above all, UJ coach, Werner Van Rensburg, was pleased with the team’s performance.
“We are grateful for that result. It was important yesterday to double up on the result. It’s one thing being good for one week and another thing being good for consecutive weeks. In this competition to ultimately get to where you want to get to, you must play well two or four weeks in a row,” said Van Rensburg.
On the other hand, Madibaz coach, David Maidza was disappointed. “Look. We were punished. We did not pitch up. We did not play. We gave in and it’s just where we are supposed to be that’s all. Right now, it’s for us to fight not to get relegated,” he said.