FNB NWU claimed their first win of the 2020 FNB Varsity Cup season when they beat FNB Shimlas 27-19 at the Fanie du Toit Stadium in Potchefstroom on Monday night.
NWU kicked off their first home game of the season but it was Shimlas who had the first chance to get ahead through Marthinus Boshoff, but had their try disallowed after he knocked the ball on. Wihan von Wielligh got the first points of the game when he slotted a penalty to put FNB NWU 3-0 up after fifteen minutes.
Eugene Hare scored the first try of the game after finding a gap in the corner, with Von Wielligh adding the extra points. However, an intentional knock-on sent Riaan Genis to the Afkoelstoel, and made matters worse for NWU when Shimlas were awarded a penalty try. Because they ran the ball from their own half, NWU only held a narrow one-point lead with ten minutes left of the half. Danny du Plooy then edged the recently-dubbed Eagles ahead when he inched over the try line, with Von Wielligh again slotting the conversion, to give the home side a 17-9 lead at half-time.
Despite a slow start to the second half, Wihan von Wielligh extended NWU's lead when he managed a penalty to put them 20-9 up with more than twenty minutes left to play. Danny du Plooy once again but his body on the line to defend the hosts' try line and made a vital steal to keep the Bloemfontein side at bay.
However, it was shortlived as Jhaques Thyssen was able to put Shimlas back in the fight when he found the try line, but a missed conversion left them trailing 27-14. Akhona Nela forced his way through the Shimlas defence to run away with the game as Von Wielligh made no mistake with the conversion. An unforced Shimlas error gave NWU a chance to score their bonus point try, but Edmund Rheeder's forward pass meant that the score stood at 27-19 when the final whistle blew.
A special mention must go to Wihan von Wielligh, who had a perfect night off the boot, winning himself the Steers Kinging Moment and the FNB Player That Rocks.
FNB Player That Rocks: Wihan von Wielligh (FNB NWU)
Steers Kinging Moment: Wihan von Wielligh (FNB NWU)
FNB NWU: 17 (27)
Tries: Eugene Hare, Danny du Plooy, Akhona Nela
Conversions: Wihan von Wielligh 3
Penalties: Wihan von Wielligh 2
FNB Shimlas: 19 (9)
Tries: Penalty try (point-of-origin), Jhaques Thyssen, Siyanda Cele
FNB NWU: 15. Chuiner van Rooyen, 14. Lungelo Gosa, 13. Evardi Boshoff, 12. Akhona Nela, 11. Eugene Hare, 10, Wihan von Wielligh, 9. Riaan Genis, 8. Edmund Rheeder (captain), 7. Wandi Mazibuko, 6. Chris Vermaak, 5. Danny du Plooy, 4. Malembe Mpofu, 3. Matimu Manganyi, 2. Gustav du Rand, 1. Ruben du Plessis.
Reserves: 16. Fanie Mare, 17. Jason Jansen, 18. Ruan Swiegers, 19. Jeandre Leonard, 20. Wihan Nel, 21. Caleb Louw, 22. Lincoln Daniels, 23. Khulu Mcuma.
Coach: André Pretorius
FNB Shimlas: 15. Cham Zondeki, 14. Siyanda Cele, 13. Keegan Haman, 12. William Eybers (captain), 11. Marthinus Boshoff, 10. Johannes Duvenhage, 9. Rewan Kruger, 8. Albertus de Bod, 7. Jan Rossouw, 6. Mihlali Peter, 5. Keenan Murray, 4. Sibabalo Qoma, 3. Gerrit Visser, 2. Carl Wijburg, 1. Willem Marais.
Reserves: 16. Jhaques Thyssen, 17. Bhekinkosi Qaba, 18. Jan Meades, 19. Rholane Ncubuka, 20. Kamohelo Chabana, 21. Chadd Adams, 22. Tiaan Schutte, 23. Lourens Oosthuizen.
Coach: Hendro Scholtz