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SAA National Club Champs

Hammies, Maties, Pukke and Rovers reach SAA Club Champs semi-finals

2009 finalists Pukke will face College Rovers of KZN in a repeat of the 2006 and 2008 finals when the two meet in one semi-final. The Potch students beat Boland’s Roses United 90-14 while Rovers hung on to beat the University of Johannesburg 26-20 in the main match of the day to progress to their fourth semifinal in five years.

Defending champions Hamilton of Western Province and 12-time winners Maties will clash in a crunch semifinal after both sides powered through their last-eight matches at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Monday.

It’s a dream last-four lineup, as South Africa’s two leading university teams now come up against the country’s two best open clubs to decide the overall club champion.

Title-holders Hammies romped to a 76-14 win over Eastern Province’s Progress, while Maties were equally as impressive in seeing off a determined Springs side 49-27.

The mouthwatering heavyweight clash between Western Province arch-rivals Maties and Hammies has been on the cards since the draw was announced. Hammies, who beat Pukke in the 2009 final to end seven years of student dominance at the tournament, lost their WP Super League title to Maties this year but both sides managed one win apiece in the league.

The Stellenbosch students, who have won the national title 12 times to go along with their hat-trick of Varsity Cup crowns, will be determined to round off a dream season by adding a third trophy to their 2010 haul.

Maties were made to work all the way against Springs but in the end had too much pace and class for the East Rand team. Fullback Jonathan Francke was rewarded for his dangerous counter-attacking with two tries, while centre Dabeon Draghoender and eighthman Bennie Booysen had hugely influential games. Flyhalf Andre Kemp marshalled his backs well while also kicking 19 points on the day.

Hammies encountered stiff initial resistance from Progress, but the Eastern Cape team just could not replicate their giant-killing act of 2006, when they beat Maties. The champions were just too powerful up front and the surfeit of possession that came their way translated into 11 tries for the Cape Town side.

Pukke, champions in 2004, 2006 and 2008, flexed their muscles in racing to a 68-0 halftime lead against Roses United, only to take their feet off the gas in the second half as they fixed one eye on their semifinal meeting against Rovers.

The Durbanites will be looking to qualify for their third final in five years and were impressive in their win against UJ. Flyhalf Wesley Dunlop scored a try and kicked 11 points to keep the Jo’burg students at arm’s length in a tightly-contested game that finished in dramatic fashion when what looked like a certain UJ try was adjudged to have been held up over the line.

In the Plate event, Varsity Cup sides Shimlas and Tuks will meet in one semifinal, with East London Police and Mossel Bay Barbarians clashing in the other.

Fixtures for Wednesday 22 September 2010:

Plate semifinals:
11h45, B field: SAPS East London vs Mossel Bay Barbarians
13h30, B field: Shimlas vs Tuks

Cup semifinals:
15h15, Stadium: Puk vs College Rovers
17h00, Stadium: Hamilton vs Maties

Quarterfinal results for Monday 20 September 2010:

Noordelike 27 SAPS East London 31
Mossel Bay Barbarians 32 Kimberley Police 31
Middelburg 10 Shimlas 41
Bethlehem Oud-Skoliere 19 Tuks 52

Maties 49 (20) – Tries: Jonathan Francke (2), Louis Jordaan, Bennie Booysen, Boetie Brits, Pieter Stoffberg. Conversions: André Kemp (5). Penalties: Kemp (3).
Springs 27 (13) – Tries: Armand Steynvaart, Rudi Klopper (2). Conversions: Charl Nieuwenhuis (2), Niel Erasmus. Penalties: Nieuwenhuis (2).

Hamilton 76 (28) – Tries: Elric van Vuuren (2), Jacques Rossouw, Alshaun Bock (2), Francois Prinsloo, JG Giliomee (3), Tiaan Fick, Jeffrey Williams. Conversions: Van Vuuren (9). Penalty: Van Vuuren.
Progress 14 (14) – Tries: Nolan Jacobs, Giovanni Fourie. Conversions: Curtis Sais (2).

Pukke 90 (68) – Tries: SW Oosthuizen, Adriaan Engelbrecht, Johannes Seerane, Marcel du Toit (2), PJ van Zyl, Savvas Nel, Siya Mdaka (2), Dirco Rautenbach (2), Martin Dreyer, Jacques Moller, Jean Pretorius. Conversions: Kotze (10).
Roses United 14 (0) – Tries: Ashton Constant (2). Conversions: Percival Williams, Ryan Jordaan.

College Rovers 26 (15) – Tries: Michael Rhodes, Anton Verster, Wesley Dunlop. Conversion: Dunlop. Penalties: Dunlop (3).
UJ 20 (8) – Tries: JP Jansen van Rensburg, Danny Botha, Earl Lewis. Penalty: Wesley Roberts. Conversion: Andre Smith.

Issued by SARU Communications