The University of Johannesburg’s (FNB UJ) senior rugby team travelled to Potchefstroom, North West, for their 2023 FNB Varsity Cup opening match against the North West University (FNB NWU) Eagles on Monday, 20 February 2023. FNB NWU Eagles snatched their first victory over FNB UJ with a 41-28 final score on home soil.
The Orange Army will be looking to rectify their mistakes in the Johannesburg derby against Wits University on Monday, 27 February 2023 at the Wits Stadium.
FNB UJ went into the halftime break with a 18-15 lead over the hosts with Jonathan Viljoen’s and Darnel Osuagwu’s tries. The visitors (UJ) exerted pressure on the hosts in the first 40 minutes as FNB NWU’s Gustav Erlank was temporarily sent off with a yellow card in the 15th minute.
UJ’s first 2023 FNB Varsity Cup tournament at Fanie Du Toit Sports Ground – NWU. Photo: UJ Sport
However, UJ did not suppress the pressure from the hosts in the second 40 minutes. FNB NWU soon downed two tries through Vernon Paulo and Sylvester Hassiendotting. They sealed their 41-points victory with two more tries in the last ten minutes of the game through Stephen Krugel and Wihan Nel.
Reflecting on the UJ team’s performances, co-captain Buhle Qaba said, “we played well in the first half. We were leading at half time. We had a lapse in concentration in the first 10 minutes of the second half and I think that’s where they capitalised on our mistakes and scored tries, and we couldn’t get back from that.”
Fellow player, Sinovuyo Bali added, “It was a great encounter. We put them under a lot of pressure, we just didn’t capitalise on their mistakes. We stayed in the fight as long as we could, we didn’t give anything for free. Moving forward we need to be more clinical, more patient moving forward and fight for each other. It’s going to be a long campaign, we just need to have the right mindset and always show up.”
FNB UJ Tries: Darnel Osuagwu, Johanthan Viljoen (2). Conversions: Jonathan Viljoen (1). Penalties: Jonathan Viljoen (3).
FNB NWU: Tries: Isrome Phatudi, Theuns Pretorius, Vernon Paulo, Sylvester Hassien, Stephan Krugel, Wihan Nel. Conversions: Zinedine Robinson, Martin Venter (1). Penalties: Robinson (1).
FNB Player that Rocks: Sylvester Hassien (NWU Eagles)