The NWU-Pukke sent a strong warning as far as their Varsity Cup ambitions are concerned as they coasted to a 38-15 win over the University of Pretoria Tuks on Monday night.
After racing to a 25-3 lead at halftime the men from Potchefstroom maintained their control on proceedings to give new coach Jonathan Mokuena a winning start to his tenure with last year’s losing finalists.
The visitors had Barend Janse van Rensburg to thank for their impressive lead at the interval as he dotted down twice, once for a nine pointer under the new scoring system for this year’s competition, while Walt Steenkamp added a score of his own.
Under the new system teams are awarded extra points for scoring tries where the build-up begins in their own half.
The hosts had a lone penalty by flyhalf Joshua Stander for their only points of the half.
Try as they might but Tuks just couldn’t get going in the second half with a number of handling errors killing any momentum they had gained while Pukke added three points early on through the boot of Rhyno Smith to stretch their lead.
Tuks finally managed to convert pressure into points as replacement front row forward Andrew Beerwinkel barged over to make it 28-10 with Duhan van der Merwe following up soon after to make it 31-15 at the strategy break. Smith had in the interim added another three points for Pukke.
As rain began to fall at LC de Villiers the visitors ensured they left the capital with a bonus point as Sylvian Mahuza dotted down after some brilliant handling by the Pukke backline.
The University of Free State Shimlas got the defence of their title off to a positive start as they claimed a 23-17 win over the University of Cape Town Ikeys on the Green Mile. The one consolation for the home side was that they earned a bonus point in their losing effort thanks to a late Hilion de Abreu penalty.
In other matches last night, the University of Johannesburg claimed a 19-12 win over the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Madibaz while the University of Stellenbosch ran out 40-0 victors over the Central University of Technology Ixias.