Home advantage couldn't push FNB UCT over the line as the Ikeys fell to a 16-26 defeat to defending champions FNB UP-Tuks on 24 February.
The home team had the strong wind at their backs in the first half and made their territorial superiority count early on in the FNB Varsity Cup fourth-round fixture. Captain and scrum half Liam Slatem touched down to open the scoring after stealing the ball from Tuks defender Ryan Nell, with flyhalf Dean Grant converting.
That 8-0 advantage was as good as it got for UCT, though. Despite heavy pressure on the visiting try-line, stern Tuks defence eventually took its toll on Ikey spirits. Incrementally losing ground in the forward battle led to UCT conceding a try just before half-time, when Tuks loosehead prop Juan Schoeman bulldozed over the line.
Level scores after the break were always going to favour the team playing with the wind, and Tuks exploited the conditions with three unanswered tries. It was not for a lack of effort by the Ikeys, but a combination of stubborn defending and efficient Tuks finishing took the score to a daunting 26-8 with just a few minutes to play.
Replacement Ikeys centre Huw Jones scored a consolation try in the twilight seconds, but it was not enough to sneak a bonus point from the tough encounter.
The results leave UCT at fifth in the standings after four matches with nine points, just one point behind fourth-placed Maties. The Ikeys travel to Johannesburg for a televised fifth-round encounter against the University of Johannesburg on 3 March.
Story by Yusuf Omar. Image: Cyril Dale/SASPA
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