Defending Varsity Shield champions FNB UFH had to endure a scoreless second half to scrape through with 14-13 against FNB WSU at the Davidson Stadium in Alice.
The opening 15 minutes of the encounter between these two Eastern Cape rivals was somewhat of a scrappy affair, with handling errors ruining potential scoring opportunities.
UFH managed to keep WSU under constant pressure though, keeping them pinned in their half of the field. This paid dividends when Ayabulela Xhosana powered through for the first try of the match in the 16th minute. Merlin du Plessis converted for a 7-0 lead.
WSU immediately hit back with a try of their own as the ball went down the line for
Simthembile Zozi to get his team on the board. Fana Uyathandwa’s yellow card for a dangerous tackle however dampened the visitors’ spirit somewhat.
The defending champs went into the break 14-5 in the lead after Lukhanyiso Tosholwana scored from the back of a powerful rolling maul. Du Plessis was successful with his second conversion.
The visitors were the first to strike in the second half when Sikho Gaushe went over in the corner for WSU’s second try, keeping within touching distance of UFH. A penalty by flyhalf Maxwell Klaasen minutes later narrowed the gap to a single point.
WSU had to finish the game with 14 players after Thembalihle Njadu was shown a yellow card for head contact from a high tackle.
FNB UFH 14 (14) – Tries: Ayabulela Xhosana, Lukhanyiso Tosholwana. Conversions: Merlin du Plessis (2). Penalties:
FNB WSU 13 (5) – Tries: Simthembile Zozi, Siko Gaushe. Penalties: Maxwell Klaasen (1).
FNB Player That Rocks: Lukhanyiso Tosholwana (FNB UFH)
FNB Madibaz 34 -31 FNB TUT
In the first match, FNB Madibaz got their campaign off to a winning start, prevailing 34-31 against a spirited FNB TUT at the Madibaz Stadium in Gqeberha.
The game ebbed and flowed throughout, with neither side able to dominate.
Flanker Liyema Bobelo opened the scoring for the home side, rounding off a brilliant Madibaz move. Flyhalf Chadwyn November failed to convert, but he did land a penalty just minutes later.
TUT got on the board thanks to a penalty by wing Mauritz Maritz after 12 minutes. Five minutes later, he slotted another three points for the visitors before a powerful rolling maul gave them the try that put them ahead.
But Madibaz wing Kehan Myburg hit back with the first of his two tries four minutes before the halftime break. Only a minute into the second half Myburg crossed the whitewash again.
Dieter Groenewald’s boot enabled TUT to claw their way back into the game, with hooker Jandre van Zyl eventually crossing over the line to put them on top again.
November and Groenewald then traded penalties before Madibaz skipper Leon van der Merwe broke the game open by scoring from a fluid movement. Two more penalties by November put the match beyond TUT’s reach.
FNB Madibaz 34 (13) - Tries: Liyema Bobelo, Kehan Myburg (2), Leon van der Merwe. Conversions: Chadwyn November (1). Penalties: Chadwyn November (4).
FNB TUT 31 (13) - Tries: Jandre van Zyl, Daniel Franse, Team Try. Conversions: Mauritz Maritz (2), Dieter Groenewald (1). Penalties: Mauritz Maritz, Dieter Groenewald (2).
FNB Player That Rocks: Leon van der Merwe (FNB Madibaz).
FNB RHODES 5 - 87 FNB UWC
FB UWC were the biggest winners on the first night’s action when they ran ragged at the home of FNB Rhodes for a massive 87-5 victory.
UWC struck early after Rhodes afforded the opposition too much space on the left flank.
The visitors continued to dominate in the early exchanges and got their bonus point try in the 19th minute after flank Romauld Nsombamanya stole possession and had acres of space to dot down.
Rhodes’ home town crowd had something to cheer about before half-time after Sino Ralo went over the try line after a well-executed move.
UWC crossed the try line another seven times in the second half to get their Varsity Shield campaign off to a flyer.
FNB Rhodes 5 (5) - Tries: Sino Ralo.
FNB UWC 87 (42) - Tries: Elkan Willemse, Mauritz Swart (2), Romauld Nsombamanya (2), Riaan Van der Merwe, Emile Silvis, Liam Tattesal, Keanuh Michaels, Almore Kuiders (2), Bryan Breda, Tasriq Mynhardt. Conversions: Conwill Conradie (8), Elkan Willemse (2)
Player That Rocks: Conwill Conradie (FNB UWC)
FNB CPUT 50 - 8 FNB UKZN
After taking time to settle the nerves and a few handling errors at the start, FNB CPUT scored a comfortable 50-8 victory over FNB UKZN at the Cape Peninsula University Of Technology.
The match was played at a frantic pace and in windy conditions. The home side dominated possession but could not execute their opportunities.
The teams went into the half-time break tied at 8-all.
In the second half, CPUT again dominated possession and territory. They scored four more tries to ensure a comfortable win.
FNB CPUT 50 (8) - Tries : Che Olivier Klaasen, Keenan Solomons (2), Heinrico Keastin Hartogh (2), Caine Stadler, Sicelo Tole
Conversions: Wiehan Kruger (6). Penalties: Wiehan Kruger (1)
FNB UKZN 8 (8) - Tries : Jarryd Nicholls. Penalty: Khanya Kama.
Player That Rocks: Wiehan Kruger (FNB CPUT)
Round 2 fixtures – 23 February
FNB WSU vs FNB CPUT (Sisa Dukashe Stadium)
FNB UKZN vs FNB Madibaz (Peter Booysen Stadium)
FNB TUT vs FNB Rhodes (TUT Stadium)
FNB UFH vs FNB UWC (Davidson Stadium)
All fixtures and logs HERE.