Madibaz lose it at the death against Maties


NMMU Madibaz lost to a last-gasp try from Maties 27-25 in their second Varsity Cup match at Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth, on Monday night.

In the initial stages, Maties showed fine inter-play between the forwards with great ball-carrying, strong scrummages and harassing breakdown play. It was NMMU, however, who executed their chances in the opening stages as they took a 6-0 lead going into the first strategy break at the 20-minute mark.

In the 31st minute, Maties continued their forward dominance when they won a heel-against-the-head scrum, swung it out wide through their backline and scored a controversial double movement try.

Moments later, they scored a well-balanced and perfectly executed rolling maul try as they oozed over the line without much counter-force and took a 12-6 lead at half-time.

Just six minutes into the second half and with the wind souring to their support, Maties then scored a similarly duplicated rolling maul try, as they extended their lead to 17-6.

The score remained the same at the hour mark, irrespective that Maties had thrown everything at the NMMU defence, with increased efforts of backline play, forward dominance as well as kicking territory and territorial advantage with the wind to their backs.

It was NMMU, however, who were next to respond as they too had scored a controversial double-movement try in the corner after slick backline interplay sent the outside-back for a try. As the momentum began to slip, Maties then opted to slot a penalty to take the score to 20-13 with 15 minutes remaining.

Maties then received two yellow cards within five minutes – the first in the 69th minute and the second in the 74th minute, meant NMMU would play with two extra men on the park as the game concludes. NMMU then capitalised on this advantage as they scored an unconverted try in the 78th minute to take a 25-20 lead with just two minutes to play.

Maties then did not drop their heads, as they showed more signs of momentous forward play and creeped up closer to the line which was bridged by a vital penalty against NMMU. Their steam continued to exhume as they had eventually clinched a try in the 80th minute, levelling the scores. The conversion was slotted and NMMU had immediately been made aware that their victory was out of the bag.

NMMU are now second-last on the Varsity Cup standings after suffering narrow losses in the first two matches of the seasons. They stand above last-placed Tuks due to a higher point-difference. NMMU now play the second-placed Shimlas in Xerox Shimla Park, Bloemfontein on 22nd February in their next fixture.