Form teams, NWU and Maties, knocked out as UJ and Kovsies advance to the Cup final while 2017 Varsity 7s hosts UKZN finished 9th overall.
UP-Tuks 15-10 Madibaz
UP-Tuks opted to signal their Power Play within seconds of the first kick-off and it paid dividends as Dewald Naude trotted over for an unconverted try.
Liam Blake-Taylor pulled back a try for the Madibaz to cut the deficit to five points just before the break. UP-Tuks struggled to break down down the Madibaz defensive line but continued pressure by the men from Pretoria saw Hanco Sipsma cross for a try.
The wind proved difficult for the kickers as WJ Strydom could not convert. Michael Botha gave the Madibaz an opportunity to win the match with his try but it was not enough to prevent UP-Tuks winning 15-10 and a place in the Plate final.
UWC 10-5 UCT
UWC took some time to settle into their semi-final against UCT but their attacking intent paid off when Rohaan Adams crossed the whitewash for their opening try.
UWC suffered a yellow card to Kurt-Lee Arendse just before half-time and UCT took advantage of the one-man advantage to level the scores. Justin Heunis was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock down shortly after the match resumed and this time UWC capitalised on their numerical advantage as Shane Petersen dotted down.
UWC were lucky to not sustain a red as a wayward punch connected with a UCT player. UCT pushed hard for the win but UWC held on to win the Cape Town derby 10-5 and secured a place in the Plate final.
NWU 5-19 UJ
NWU proved over the first two days to be the team to beat as they only lost one match during the regular matches and it was no different in their Cup semi-final against UJ as Diederik Oberholzer opened their account.
UJ made life difficult for themselves as they failed to execute their complicated set plays but were rewarded with a converted try to Ronald Brown as soon as they simplified their approach. UJ made it a two score match as they scored a converted try to Vuyo Shongwe with half-time looming for a 14-5 lead at the break.
UJ left NWU shell shocked as Brown turned on the afterburners to score his second try of the semi-final and an unassailable 19-5 lead to knock out the inform NWU and qualify for the Cup final.
Maties 19-21 Kovsies
A seesaw opening few minutes of the second Cup semi-final was settled by Kovsies as a long kick down field was stopped by the posts and Armand Pretorius was on hand to benefit from a fumbled collection by Maties to score a converted try.
Maties’ James Murphy levelled the score moments later as he dove over the line with Callie Nel making easy work of the conversion. Kovsies ran hard and fast at the Maties and were rewarded as Jarik van der Walt broke through to touch down but Maties made it a two-point ball game just before half-time with an unconverted try.
Van der Walt exposed the weak underbelly of Maties as he outpaced the defence to score a sensational try to gift the men from Bloemfontein a nine-point lead.
Kovsies suffered a yellow card to Marco Mason and Angus van Niekerk received the final pass to score. A strong defensive effort by Kovsies was enough to see them knock out the Maties with a 21-19 win.
CUT 14-20 UKZN
UKZN made their intentions known early on as Kwezi Puza scored a try soon after the match commenced and they followed up with a try to Michael Sibiya who scored during a power play.
Puza bagged his brace as the men from KZN ended the first half with a 20-0 lead. CUT struck first in the second half and scored another through Desmond Robertson as CUT found their form in the second half but it was not enough as UKZN won 20-14 and avoided the wooden spoon.
By Dan Lombard