You have to admire the adventure and intent of FNB UWC. They were largely outplayed by the Eagles at the scrums and lineouts over the course of the contest on Monday.
The speed and quality of their passing game, however, stretched the Eagles’ defence and created opportunities for lethal finishers such as Peter Williams on the outside. The FNB UWC wing touched down in the eighth minute to give his side an unexpected lead.
Thanks to the gargantuan presence of men like André Fouche at the breakdown, the Eagles managed to stall the visitors’ momentum. They then proceeded to put their much-vaunted scrum and rolling maul into action.
With his team marching forward, flyhalf Nivan Petersen chipped the ball over the defence for his teammates to chase. Fullback Heinrich Botha claimed possession, and then threw a speculative offload to scrumhalf Riaan Genis.
A third try and conversion stretched the Eagles’ lead to 21-7. FNB UWC hit back before half-time, though, by producing an enterprising surge to set Williams (pictured, celebrating with Conwill Conradie) up for his second try.
This point-of-origin score as well as the accurate goal-kicking of Lyle Hendricks ensured that the visitors trailed by just two points at the break.
The Eagles lost Keano Windvogel to the sin bin in the 44th minute after the wing took Williams out in the air. FNB UWC failed to capitalise on the one-man advantage, however, and the hosts escaped the period of sanction without conceding points.
By contrast, the Eagles were quick to punish FNB UWC when the visitors lost a player to the bin later in the contest. When the ball bounced free from a lineout, Eagles prop Ruben du Plessis pounced on it to claim the bonus-point try.
From there, the Eagles finished with a flourish to secure the first win of their 2022 campaign.
FNB UWC Starting XV: 15 Tiaan Henecke, 14 Tasriq Mynhardt, 13 Gilroy Lee Philander, 12 Lyle Hendricks (captain), 11 Peter Williams, 10 Hanno van Biljon, 9 Conwill Conradie, 8 Godfrey Muzanarwo, 7 Jacques Mostert, 6 Shaine Orderson, 5 Jaen-Louis de Lange, 4 Reece Bocks, 3 Justin Theys, 2 Mauritz Swart, 1 Keon Links.
Replacements: 16 Marshaleno Valensky, 17 Haniël du Toit, 18 Andries Engelbrecht, 19 Liam Tattersall, 21 Tandile Hoyi, 22 Ethan Diston, 23 Keanuh Michaels, 25 Aydon Topley.
Head coach: Paul Treu
FNB NWU Eagles 40 (21) – Tries: Heinz Bertram, Riaan Genis, Vernon Paulo, Ruben du Plessis, Pienaar van Niekerk. Conversions: Nivan Petersen (3), Martin Venter. Penalty: Martin Venter.
FNB UWC 19 (19) – Tries: Peter Williams (2). Conversions: Lyle Hendricks (2). Penalty: Lyle Hendricks.
FNB Player That Rocks: André Fouche (FNB NWU Eagles)
Match report courtesy Varsity Cup Media and images courtesy Barco Greeff/ASEM Engage.