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Defending champs NWU Eagles are off to a winning start; victories for Ikeys, Shimlas and Wits

FNB NWU Eagles got the defence of their title off to a winning start in the first round of the 2024 FNB Varsity Cup competition with a hard-fought away victory over Maties.

FNB UCT Ikeys beat FNB UFS Shimlas in Bloemfontein and FNB CUT did the same with FNB UJ while FNB Wits trashed newcomers FNB UWC in Cape Town.  




FNB Varsity Cup Champions NWU FNB Eagles got the defence of their title off to an almost perfect start after beating FNB Maties 20-12 in front of a packed Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.  


Despite it being a rather low-scoring affair, the Eagles were full value for being the more industrious team on the attack. The visitors also put up a staunch showing on defence to shut out a Maties attack that at times seemed toothless and without the real X-factor. 


It was the Eagles who had all the right moves, with the playmaking pair of Aphelele Mdaka (scrumhalf) and Zinedine Robinson (flyhalf) pulling the string. The Eagles also played with a bit of reckless abandon, with flyhalf Zinedine Robinson not afraid to send the ball out wide for his wingers to chance their arm.  


The attacking pressure would eventually pay off in the 21st minute when Robinson threw a lovely inside pass to left winger Naiden Jaarts to score the Eagles' first try and silence a partisan Maties crowd. And nine minutes later the Eagles would extend their lead when Ezekiel Ngobeni crashed over for the visitors' second five-pointer.  


In the 35th minute, changes by Maties coach Kabamba Floors paid off when Vernon Matongo crashed over after a pick-and-go in front of the Eagles' try line.   


The start to the 2nd half mirrored that of the first, with no team able to get an early breakthrough in terms of points scoring. The only difference was that Maties seemed to have the upper hand, with the Eagles having to soak up the pressure with desperate defence.  


A second Robinson penalty in the 67th minute would add to the scoreboard pressure, with Maties running out of answers on attack. And when Charles Wiliams slotted a third penalty to further extend the Eagles' lead, the writing was on the wall. Not even a consolation score by Zuko Poswa in extra time could hide the disappointment on his Maties teammates' faces.  



FNB Maties 12 (7) - Tries:  Vernon Matongo, Zuko Poswa. Conversion: Juan Mostert.  

FNB NWU Eagles 23 (14) - Tries: Naiden Jaarts, Ezekiel Ngobeni. Conversions: Zinedine Robinson (2). Penalties: Zinedine Robinson (2), Charles Williams.  

FNB Player That Rocks: Zinedine Robinson (FNB NWU Eagles) 



FNB Maties: Prince Rotondwa Mulea, Siyasanga Ngubelanga, Friedrich Cornelius Weilbach, Matthys Jacobus Bernardus Kitshoff, Matthew Gray, Eric Chris Basson, Louw Nel, Roland Leonard van der Heever, Ezekiel Mzamane Ngobeni, Juan Mostert, Matthew Emile Van Schalkwyk, Aydon Colin Topley, Ryan Marcus Manuel, Paschal Uzoma Ekeji, Hofmeyr Gideon Retief.  

FNB NWU: Matome Molebogeng Manyama, Chyle Van Zyl, Ntobeko Thabiso Shezi, Stephan Krugel, Franco Marais, Arminn Posthumus, Tian Van Zyl, Calvin Clack, Aphelele Emihle Madaka, Zinedine Robinson, Naiden Jaarts, Arnoldus Christiaan Vlok, Matthew Luke Fortuin, Keano Ricardo Windvogel, Shaun-Christian Baxter. 




FNB UCT Ikeys drew first blood in the 2024 Varsity Cup by beating FNB UFS Shimlas 38-32 in a hard-fought contest in Bloemfontein. 


The Shimlas outscored the visitors in the tries department, but it was ultimately their discipline that let them down as the left-winger for the Ikeys, Ntokozo Makhaza landed no less than seven penalties. 


The home team were the first to score with tighthead Riaan van der Merwe crashing over for an unconverted try. The team from the Mother City struck back almost immediately with a double whammy with flankers Taariq Kruger and Siphumezo Dyonase both crossing the tryline.  


Kwezi Dlamini, who is expected to do well this season, scored for the Shimlas from a quick tap, while Makhaza slotted two penalties for the visitors. 


Zane Bester’s try for Shimlas made it a one-point ball game, but Makhaza nailed another penalty for the Ikeys to hand them a 21-17 lead at the break. 


In the second stanza, starting flyhalf Ethan Wentzel and scrumhalf Jandré Nel managed to score two more tries for the hosts. It was however cancelled out by a try from the Player That Rocks, Rethabile Louw, and a further four penalties off the boot of Makhaza. 



FNB UFS Shimlas 32 (17) – Tries: Riaan van der Merwe, Kwezi Dlamini, Zane Bester, Ethan Wentzel, Jandré Nel. Conversations: Ethan Wentzel (2). Penalties: Bradley Giddy 

FNB UCT Ikeys 38 (21) – Tries: Taariq Kruger, Siphumezo Dyonase, Rethabile Louw. Conversations: Ntokozo Makhaza. Penalties: Makhaza (7) 

FNB Player That Rocks: Rethabile Louw (FNB UCT Ikeys)  



FNB UFS Shimlas: Ntokozo Hlophe, Liyema Mgwigwi, Riaan Jacobus van der Merwe, Pierre-Raymond Uys, Reinier Viljoen, Cornelius Hermanus Smit Volschenk, Siyambuka Sobe Nakhane Ningiza, Kwezi Dlamini, Jandré Nel, Ethan SJ Wentzel, Siviwe Zondani, Gideon Jooste Nel, Zane Bester, Kirwin Curtley Du Preez, Michael Annies.  

FNB UCT Ikeys: Mhleli Khethuxolo Khuzwayo, Keagan Blanckenberg, Bryan Justin Le Roux, Enos Ndiao, Johan van Rhyn, Siphumezo Dyonase, Taariq Mohammed Kruger, Laro Delport, Riaan Genis, Kian Davis, Ntokozo Sibusiso Makhaza, Joshua Boulle, Rethabile Donovan Louw, Luke John Burger, Duran Ryan Koevort. 


FNB CUT 23 – 19 FNB UJ 


Dogged defending from FNB CUT as well as poor discipline from FNB UJ handed the former a handy 23-19 victory at home in Bloemfontein.  


Early penalties by Juan Arnold Smith gave the Ixias breathing room with the Orange Army shut out for the whole of the first half. Speedster Zachery Bester sliced through the visiting defence to score the first try of the game. 


A second-half resurgence from UJ ensured that the game wasn't without its twists. 


Tries from UJ's Prince Nkabinde, Likhaya Tengimfene and Marius Coetzee kept the pressure on the hosts. 


Ultimately, Ixias stayed strong at the back to remain unbeaten against their opponents since 2019. 



FNB CUT 23 (13) - Tries: Zachery Bester, Adielson Gouveia. Penalties: Juan Arnold Smith (2), Christiaan Rheeder. 

FNB UJ 19 (0) Tries - Prince Nkabinde, Likhaya Tengimfene, Marius Coetzee. Conversions: Rowan Malgas 

Player That Rocks: Janco Cloete (CUT) 



FNB CUT: Albertus Human Venter, Tokelo Oratile Ntaopane, Sisipho Nofuya, Asekho Phindile Marubelela, Kevin Strydom, Tjaart Jurie Van der Walt, Tsebano Edward Stemer, Jacobus Johannes Cloete, Triveno Swartz, Juan Arnold Smith, Zachery Bester, Septimus Dercksen, Liam Prinsloo, Adielson Gouveia, Natanael Young.  

FNB UJ: Roedolf Fouche Schoeman, Mauritz Swart, Heiko Peter Eugene Pohlmann, Tiaan Wessels, Marius Coetzee, Testimony Boluwatife Dodo, Philip Apea Adu, Kamohelo Rorisang Molefe, Kgothatso Sono, Rowan Malgas, Prince Nkabinde, Likhaya Tengimfene, Siphesihle Austin Nkabini, Meyer Kriel, Boldwin Hansen. 


FNB WITS 66 – 10 FNB UWC  


It was a near-perfect start for FNB Wits when they outsmarted newcomers FNB UWC 66-10 in Bellville at the UWC Sport Stadium. A healthy 31-10 halftime lead meant the visitors had secured the bonus point when the siren sounded. 


Nine tries to a solo 38th-minute try from UWC's second rower Louan De Lange is a testament to an all-around clinical and disciplined display of rugby by the visiting side.  


Relentless attacking phases by the visiting side forced the home team to make several tackles in the opening quarter of the match with loose forward Kelvin Kanenungo and scrumhalf Hassiem Pead making sure Wits got across the advantage with ease. The home side's woes were compounded when their captain Tasriq Mynhardt sustained an injury in the first half forcing him off the field. 


Wits scored three tries to one in the final ten minutes of the opening stanza. Ngia Selengbe, Pead, and veteran second-rower Cal Smid added their names to the try-scoring sheet. Setshaba Mokoena kept the scoreboard ticking over with three successful conversions from his five attempts.  


The visitors picked up the pace where they left it in the opening half, Grobbelaar completing a brace of tries with a try apiece coming from Kabelo Mokheti and Elizee Kwitonda. Mokoena's accuracy off the tee kept the distance between the two sides growing on the scoreboard.  


As the final ten minutes of the match approached, FNB Wits crossed the 50-point mark when Kwitonda crashed over from close range. 


UWC made a few promising runs but the defensive resolve and discipline from the visitors meant that they were restricted to a solo first-half try. 



FNB UWC 10 (10) – Tries: Louan De Lange Conversions: Conwill Conradie Penalties: Conradie 

FNB Wits 66 (31) – Tries: Marno Grobbelaar (2), Kelvin Kanenungo, Ngia Selengbe, Hassiem Pead, Cal Smid, Kabelo Mokheti, Elizee Kwitonda, DeWet Fourie (2). Conversions: Setshaba Mokoena (5), Tireque Apolles 

FNB Player That Rocks: Mark Snyman (FNB Wits) 



FNB UWC: Hlonela Qelile, James Hermann Coetzee, Keanuh Cameron Michaels, Michail Kasfikis, Carel Van der Merwe, Almore JNR Abraham Scott Kuilders, Louan De Lange, Romuad Nsombamanya, Conwill Brooklyn Conradie, Aaron Benjamin Swartz, Hlomla Ncana, Emile Silvis, Zhaun-Jacques Johan Brynard, Will Bradford Vraagom, Tasriq Mynhardt. 

FNB Wits: Elizee Kwitonda, Marno Grobbelaar, Sibusiso Shongwe, George Lawson St Leger Devenish, Cal Smid, Kelvin Kanenungo, Dewet-Grant Fourie, Lindokuhle Ncusane, Mogamad Hassiem Pead, Kabelo Mokhethi, Liyema Matyolweni, Mark Dilan Snyman, Ngia Selengbe, Dustyn Matthew Holmes, Setshaba Mohlakoane Mokoena. 

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