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Maties to face College Rovers in 2010 SAA Club Champs final
22/09/2010
The University of Stellenbosch will face KZN champions College Rovers in the 2010 SAA National Club Champs final after both sides secured surprisingly one-sided semifinal victories
The University of Stellenbosch will face KZN champions College Rovers in the 2010 SAA National Club Champs final after both sides secured surprisingly one-sided semifinal victories at the Danie Craven Stadium on Wednesday.

Maties dethroned defending champions and Western Province arch-rivals Hamilton 45-19, while Rovers overwhelmed last year's losing finalists Pukke 33-14.

It is the Cape students' first final since 2007 and coach Chean Roux's troops will now be aiming for an unprecedented 13th national crown to go with their hat-trick of Varsity Cup wins.

The KwaZulu-Natalians' will play in their third final in five years but they are yet to win the tournament, having lost to Pukke in the 2006 and 2008 finals.

In the main match of the afternoon, Maties, suitably focused after their tough quarterfinal outing against Springs, scored five tries to reaffirm their dominance over their Cape Town adversaries, who looked to have suffered the same fate as Pukke in having had far too little tough opposition in the lead-up to the fixture that really counted.

Maties flyhalf Coenie van Wyk gave his side an early 6-0 lead with two penalties before a brilliant piece of play gave the students their first try. From a penalty on the Hammies 22, eighthman Cameron Peverett produced a superb flick pass that found winger Wilhelm Loock, who crashed over.

Hammies had a chance to get back into the game but flyhalf Elric van Vuuren, who couldn't miss on his way to a 31-point haul in their 76-14 quarterfinal win, fluffed two easy shots at goal in the opening quarter.

Van Wyk had no such qualms, slotting a third penalty after 25 minutes before scrumhalf Johan Herbst dived over for his flyhalf to convert and open up a 21-0 lead.

The off-colour champions weren't helped by the sinbinning of prop Tiaan de Kock on the stroke of halftime, which directly led to a third Maties try from flanker Boetie Brits, again converted by Van Wyk.

Eighthman Francois Prinsloo finally got Hammies onto the scoresheet in first-half injury time and Van Vuuren finally found his kicking form to give the Cape Town side a glimmer of hope.

But replacement Ruan Combrinck gave Maties their fourth try after 49 minutes to restore the sizeable buffer before Loock scooted over for his second with 25 minutes remaining to put the result beyond doubt.

In the first semifinal, it was a case of third time lucky for the KZN champions, who finally beat the team that had pipped them to the 2006 and 2008 titles.

Rovers outscored the Potch students by five tries to two - four of them to their dangerous backs - with fullback Chris Jordaan and centre Rudi Keil having massive games. Up front, flankers Kosie Haarhof and Jody Jenneker combined superbly with eighthman Eric Ngoie while their pack as a whole surprised the Pukke with their physicality at the breakdown.

Pukke, who had coasted into the semis on the back of a 90-14 victory over Roses United, like Hammies looked like a side who had not been tested ahead of a crucial decider. Rudy Joubert's side seemed disjointed and lacked penetration and intensity - although much of the credit for this must go to Rovers' physicality, which never let up for the full 80 minutes.

Rovers set the tone when they raced to a 21-0 lead inside of 20 minutes, thanks to tries from left wing Anton Verster, Haarhof and centre Jerome Pretorius. Flyhalf Wesley Dunlop kicked all three conversions, then added another when Jordaan jinked through five minutes before halftime to give his team a 14-point lead at the break.

Pukke could just not penetrate Rovers' obdurate defence after the break and Keil's try after 48 minutes was the only score of the half.

In the Plate competition, East London Police beat Mossel Bay Barbarians 40-10 to book their place in the final. They will meet Shimlas, who overcame Tuks 42-27.

Scorers:

Pukke 14 (14) - Tries: Jean Pretorius, Dirco Rautenbach. Conversions: Theuns Kotze (2). College Rovers 33 (28) - Tries: Anton Verster, Kosie Haarhof, Jerome Pretorius, Chris Jordaan, Rudi Keil. Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (4).

Hamilton 19 (7) - Tries: Francois Prinsloo (2), Alshaun Bock. Conversions: Elric van Vuuren, Bock. Maties 45 (28) - Tries: Wilhelm Loock (2), Johan Herbst, Boetie Brits, Ruan Combrinck. Conversions: Coenie van Wyk (3), André Kemp. Penalties: Van Wyk (3), Kemp.

Fixtures for Friday 24 September:

Plate final:
11h00 - East London Police vs Shimlas

Cup final:
13h00 - Maties vs College Rovers



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