The FNB Varsity Cup clash between FNB Shimlas and FNB UJ ended in high drama, with the Shimlas believing they had won 26-25 while the visitors claimed they had edged it 27-26 - ultimately the hosts were correct and claimed their first win of the season*.
The confusion stemmed from a 44th-minute try, by Tatendaishe Mujawo. It was initially awarded as a point-of-origin try as Mujawo received the ball in his own half, then changed to a 'normal' five-pointer moments later because the quick line-out took place in Shimlas' half. Only, when UJ team management insisted, post-match, that the refeeres review video footage was the confusion stoked which accounts for the two-point discrepancy.
In terms of the game itself, out-of-form Shimlas surprisingly started it in maroon jerseys rather than their traditional blue jersey. They duly took early control of the game and forced UJ into penalties with consistent pressure.
Following a penalty in the fifth minute, Shimlas' hooker Hanno Snyman scored the first try, from a line out maul. In a virtual carbon-copy, Snyman barged over for his second try in the 11th minute with JP Duvenage converting it to hand the hosts a 12-0 lead.
UJ, though, replied with penalty kicks in the 14th and 18th minute by flyhalf PW Steenkamp to take the score to 12-6. However, Shimlas could not be stopped from lineout mauls and Snyman scored his hat-trick in the 26th minute, converted again by Duvenage to increase the lead to 19-6. FNB UJ was not done, and forced a penalty try in the 35th minute. Shimlas collapsed a scrum five metres from the goal line, leaving the referee with no choice and the half-time score read 19-13.
AS IT HAPPENED: Running commentary of the match as it unfolded...
UJ winger Tatendaishe Mujawo started the second half in true FNB Varsity Cup fashion with a brilliant try in the 44th minute, which may well end up being watched over and over again for various reasons! Be that as it may, leaving the on-field score score at 19-18 in Shimlas favour at the time.
Shimlas were next to dot down in the 53rd minute, with hooker Snyman adding a fourth try to his tally... and again in the same fashion as the other three tries. It was converted by Duvenage to take the score to 26-18.
FNB UJ showed character and fought back when replacement winger Siphesihle Radebe went over in the 79th minute to score a five-pointer converted by Jonno Viljoen to take the score to 26-25 to take the game to the final whistle... before the drama unfolded.
Shimlas, who dominated in the first half, will – despite the final result – rue the many handling errors they made in the second half. UJ, meanwhile, played for eighty minutes and showed character by fighting back with their replacement backs gaiving the Orange Army momentum when they needed most in the second half.
With both teams struggling for results in 2020, a promotion-relegation season, this match may prove season defining. Shimlas are now all but safe, while UJ remain languishing at the foot of both the 2020 log and, more significantly, the 2019-2020 combined log.
FNB Player that Rocks: Hanno Snyman (FNB Shimlas)
Steers Kinging Moment: Tatendaishe Mujawo (FNB UJ)
FNB Shimlas: 26 (19)
Tries: Hanno Snyman 4
Conversions: JP Duvenage 3
FNB UJ: 25 (13)
Tries: Penalty Try, Tatendaishe Mujawo, Siphesihle Radebe
Conversion: Jonno Viljoen
Penalties: PW Steenkamp 2
FNB Shimlas: 15 Cham Zondeki, 14 Marnus Boshoff, 13 Janco van Heyningen, 12 JP Duvenage, 11 Charl Pretorius, 10 Tiaan Schutte, 9 Chadd Adams, 8 Bertie de Bod, 7 Jan Rossouw, 6 Mihlali Peter, 5 Keanan Murray, 4 Sibabalo Qoma (captain), 3 Helgard Meyer, 2 Hanno Snyman, 1 Wihan Marais.
Replacements: 16 Carl Wijburg, 17 Bhekinkosi Qaba, 18 Daniël Wessels, 19 Rholane Ncubuka, 20 Janco Cloete, 21 Pieter Williamson, 22 Siyanda Cele, 23 Thabang Mahlasi.
Coach: Hendro Scholtz
FNB UJ: 15 Shaun Williams, 14 Siphiwe Mazibuko, 13 Musawenkosi Tshabalala, 12 Seun Maduna, 11 Tatendaishe Mujawo, 10 PW Steenkamp, 9 Mpho Kubheka, 8 Edwin Jansen (captain), 7 Kwagga van Niekerk, 6 Kelvin Kanenungo, 5 Simon Dionisio, 4 André Meyer, 3 Jacobus Agenbag, 2 Pierre Rabie, 1 Kayden Kiewit.
Replacements: 16 Hloni Mphuthi, 17 Coenrad Vrey, 18 Ethan Jeffery, 19 Lunga Molele, 20 Adu Apea, 21 Divan Henning, 22 Siphesihle Radebe, 23 Jonno Viljoen.
Coach: Dewey Swartbooi
*The FNB Varsity Cup tournament has included the innovative Point of Origin (POR) Try System for the past three seasons. The system has yielded great returns in encouraging running and entertaining rugby. To ensure that the POR system in utilised correctly, we have review system in place whereby Member Universities can submit an appeal after a game.
UFS lodged an appeal according to the official processes and the score was overturned after a review.