An electrifying atmosphere with a chanting home crowd propelled the University of Johannesburg (FNB UJ) senior men’s rugby team to first victory in the 2023 FNB Varsity Cup tournament on Monday, 6 March 2023. FNB UJ clinched a 43-24 win on home soil against visitors the University of Cape Town (FNB UCT Ikeys) after a bumpy start this year.
FNB UJ’s Jonathan Viljoen converts from the spot
Thanks to load shedding, the Parktown Boys band and the UJ crowd collaboration switched up the mood, encouraging the FNB UJ players to play the game with vigor. The Orange Army (UJ) got off to a cracking start with Prince Nkabinde scoring the home team’s first try.
FNB UJ continued their dominance with Likhaya Tengimfene also crossing the try line. FNB UCT showed a challenging spirit as Alex Castle scored a try from an impressive maul to keep the visitors in the game. However, FNB UJ showed determination and took control of matters with a marginal 14-10 lead going into the halftime break.
The Orange Army (UJ) continued their impressive play in the second half, at one point building up a ten-point cushion. In previous games, UJ allowed their opponents back into the game by taking the foot off the accelerator. This was the case with the visitors responding with back-to-back tries by Enos Ndiaoto to level the score at 24-24 with 20 minutes left on the clock. However, UJ corrected its past mistakes by adding intensity to game resulting in two tries from Mpho Kubheka and Francois Pretorius while Viljoen converted another penalty in injury time to secure a 43-24 home victory.
Prince Nkabinde scored FNB UJ’s opening try against FNB UCT
“We didn’t play well for the full 80 minutes, but we played for each other to make up for our mistakes. It is our first win of the season, our crowd really came through for us – their support really got us over the line today. We want to get another win to stay on course to reach the playoffs. This match will boost our confidence going into the next game – it is a good start,” said Buhlebenkosi Qaba, FNB UJ co-captain.
Co-captain Kelvin Kanenungo added, “We just need to keep calm and continue playing with the same spirit, I know we can do better. We have worked hard to rectify our mistakes from the last two games. We need to stay humble and keep working. We dipped a little bit in the second half, but the crowd really carried us tonight and we thank them for their support – they are our true champions.”
FNB UJ 43 (14) – Tries: Prince Nkabinde, TengimgeneLikhaya, Buhle Qaba, Francois Pretorius, Mpho Kubheka. Conversions: Jonathan Viljoen(5).Penalties: Viljoen (2).
FNB UCT IKEYS 24 (10) – Tries: Alex Castle, Keagan Blanckenberg, Enos Ndiao. Conversions: Notokozo Makhaza (3). Penalties: Makhaza(1).
FNB Player That Rocks: Kelvin Kanenungo (UJ)
Mpho Kubheka of FNB UJ passes the ball during the UJ-UCT game at UJ Stadium