Defending champions FNB UP-Tuks booked their place in the 2013 Varsity Cup Final with an emphatic 61-24 victory over FNB UJ in Pretoria on Monday.
The home side ran in eight tries in a dominant display against a UJ side that scored three tries of their own but could simply not deal with the constant onslaught from their hosts.
UP-Tuks started in convincing style, running in four tries before the first strategy break and establishing a commanding 32-8 lead after the opening 20 minutes.
The Pretoria outfit marched into opposition territory where they were awarded an early penalty try after UJ lock Shane Kirkwood entered a driving maul from the side.
UJ responded by launching a powerful rolling maul of their own which took them into the 22, and after the forwards took them close to the tryline it was spun out to wing Chrysander Botha who went over for the try which levelled the game up at 8-8 once converted by Kobus de Kock.
UP-Tuks continued the theme when another driving maul saw captain Jono Ross power his way over the tryline from close range to put them 16-8 ahead.
That lead was extended further shortly afterwards when Pollard took the ball at first-receiver from a line-out before ghosting through a gap to cruise in for their third try, and lock Mike Williams capped off an intense opening 20 minutes when he barged over for another five-pointer.
Any thoughts of UP-Tuks taking their foot off the gas were dismissed when elusive fullback Clayton Blommetjies and flyhalf Willie du Plessis crossed in quick succession to give them a monster 48-8 lead after the first half-hour.
The visitors were desperate to hit back before half-time and put together a sustained attack in UP-Tuks territory, but they could not find a way through and went to the break 40 points down.
With their backs firmly to the wall UJ needed a big response and a great run from fullback Kobus de Kock eventually resulted in scrumhalf Jacques Pretorius going over for the first try of the second half.
However, their encouraging start to the second half was soon thwarted by two quick tries from their hosts as flying UP-Tuks wing Courtnall Skosan got over before Du Plessis crossed for his second to make it 61-16.
UJ got their third try when replacement scrumhalf Vian van der Watt pounced on a loose ball to score, but that was to be the last try as UP-Tuks secured a comfortable victory and passage into the final.
For FNB UP-Tuks: Tries: Penalty try, Ross, Pollard, Williams, Blommetjies, Du Plessis 2, Skosan. Cons: Pollard 7
For FNB UJ: Tries: Botha, Pretorius, Van der Watt. Cons: De Kock 3.
UP-Tuks: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Vainon Willis, 13 Piet Lindeque, 12 Handre Pollard, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Danie Faasen, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques Verwey, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Mike Williams, 3 Basil Short, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Juan Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Sabelo Nhlapo, 18 Schalk Van Heerden, 19 Wesley Kotze, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Christopher Bosch, 22 Riaan Britz, 23 Christoff Gouws.
UJ: 15 Kobus De Kock, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Bradley Moolman, 12 Luan Steenkamp, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Divan van Zyl (captain), 9 Jacques Pretorius, 8 RJ Liebenberg, 7 Johan van der Hoogt, 6 Thilip Marole, 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Wessel Du Randt . Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Wiseman Kamanga, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Kobus Porter, 20 Vian van der Watt, 21 Guy Cronje, 22 Andries Oosthuizen, 23 Njabulo Mkize.
Referee: Tiaan Jonker
Assistant referees: Jaco Kotze, Lihan Pretorius
TMO: Johan Greeff
In Varsity Shield action FNB CUT Ixias who kept their unbeaten run for the season going with a comfortable 42-20 victory over wooden spoonists FNB TUT, who were left to reflect on a disappointing campaign after getting relegated from the Varsity Cup last year.
The final of the Varsity Young Guns competition will also see UP-Tuks take on Maties after both sides secured home semifinal victories on Monday.
Defending champions UP-Tuks cruised past the UCT Trojans in Pretoria, securing a 68-28 victory, while Maties were made to work a little harder for their 26-15 win against UFS-Shimlas in Stellenbosch.