FNB VARSITY CUP: Clash of Titans ends in stalemate

Nothing could separate the Boys in Blue and Ikeys in an erratic varsity cup battle.

Wits University clashed with the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the Varsity Cup on March 18, 2024, with the game eventually ending in a nail-biting 33-33 draw.  

The visitors came into the game as favourites on the back of two successive victories against the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Central University of Technology (CUT).  

Wits on the other hand headed into the encounter seeking redemption on the heels of a two-game losing streak, the most recent being a 51-22 away loss to the North-West University (NWU) Eagles.  

A second minute penalty and three tries saw UCT go into the half-time break with a 10-28 lead over the home side.  

However, Wits flew out the traps in the second half, scoring two tries within the first five minutes. One courtesy of fullback, Setshaba Mokoena, who ripped through the UCT defence before he chipped, then chased the ball to score a dazzling solo effort. 

Wits and UCT engaged in a tight battle at Wits Rugby Stadium. Photo: Kabir Jugram

This dizzying spell from the home side reduced the halftime deficit to two points, but only for a matter of minutes as a try by Mhleli Khuzwayo extended the buffer for the away side.  

The scoreboard was 26-33 to the Ikeys with ten minutes left on the clock, setting the stage for a nervy finale. But the Wits crowd remained at full volume, and their spirit was duly rewarded when Wits prop, Ronan Dutton scrambled over the goal line in the final minute of the game. After a successful conversion, the game ended in a 33-33 draw.   

Debutant Wits flanker, Kevin Kakoma said the match was, “Absolutely exhilarating! [I] had a blast out there. It was tough, obviously, they kept coming and never really died down, but it was a good push.” He said the crowd was a highlight, “I’m truly thankful for everyone coming out and just giving out support. I really felt that I was at home here”. 

UCT prop John Okonkwo said, “We brought the energy, we brought the effort. Kudos to Wits, they really put us on our toes today, especially in the second half. I think a draw justifies the game and how it actually played out.” 

Wits is now fifth on the Varsity Cup log with two games remaining. Their next clash is against the UJ at the UJ Stadium on March 25, 2024.   

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits and UCT players compete for a line-out. Photo: Kabir Jugram

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