FNB Varsity Shield
FNB DUT claimed a crucial 15-12 win against the FNB TUT Vikings in round six of the FNB Varsity Shield on Sunday to improve their chances of avoiding relegation.
FNB DUT battled bravely in an error-strewn match at CPUT Sports Stadium and held an 8-7 lead moments before half-time. The Vikings crossed the line before the hooter, however, to take a 12-7 advantage into the break.
FNB DUT flyhalf Minenhle Siwela converted his own try in the 67th minute to steer his team into a powerful position in the closing stages.
Siwela missed two penalty attempts thereafter. The FNB DUT defence did enough, though, to repel a final surge by the Vikings and secure what could be a campaign-defining victory.
The result sees FNB DUT moving two log points ahead of FNB Rhodes on the combined 2021-22 log with one round to play.
The Impi were the more physical and accurate side over the course of the first half. Their scrum put the hosts under pressure and their big men won the battle at the gainline.
FNB CPUT stayed in touch via the reliable kicking boot of flyhalf Feghorn-Leigh Snyders. The score was 10-6 to the Impi at half-time.
An improved showing at the collisions and breakdowns allowed the hosts to claw their way back into the contest. As the end of the game approached, they were in a strong position to claim an important victory.
FNB UKZN showed superior intensity and composure at the death, though. A sweeping move was expertly finished by Zulu and Jarryd Nicholls’ conversion gave the visitors a narrow win.
The reigning champions will be disappointed with their performances over the course of their home leg. After losing big games against the FNB UFH Blues and FNB UKZN, they will be hard-pressed to secure home advantage for the semi-finals.
The Impi are well placed to finish in the top two. They currently sit at the top of the standings, but – having completed all their league matches – they may be overtaken by the Blues in the final round.
In the first match of the day, the FNB WSU All Blacks booked their semi-final spot with a 48-11 win against FNB Rhodes.
It took the All Blacks 33 minutes to secure the try-scoring bonus point when fullback Lisolethu Valisi, who won the FNB Player That Rocks award, dotted down.
That came after two tries from flyhalf Lwandile Mapuko and another by scrumhalf Lithemba Ngcetane.
Fullback Jano Roux briefly kept FNB Rhodes in the game with two penalty goals, but the Stallions suffered a big setback when captain Simelela Mbanzi was yellow-carded on the half-hour mark.
No sooner had he left the field than FNB WSU scored their bonus-point try and the conversion gave them a commanding 26-6 lead.
FNB Rhodes showed great character while down to 14 men, with centre Tinashe Famba scoring on the stroke of half-time, but that’s as good as it got for them.
After the break, winger Sibusiso Hans scored two more tries for FNB WSU, the second while their tighthead prop, Dale Titus, was in the sin bin. Ngcetane then crossed for two late tries to complete a memorable hat-trick.
FNB Varsity Shield Round 6 results and scorers:
FNB Rhodes 11 (11) – Try: Tinashe Famba. Penalties: Jano Roux (2). FNB WSU All Blacks 48 (26) – Tries: Lwandile Mapuko (2), Lithemba Ngcetane (3), Lisolethu Valisi, Sibusiso Hans (2). Conversions: Lisolethu Valisi (4). FNB Player That Rocks: Lisolethu Valisi (FNB WSU All Blacks)
FNB DUT 15 (8) – Tries: Alberth Kapenda, Minenhle Siwela. Conversion: Siwela. Penalty: Siwela. FNB TUT Vikings 12 (12) – Tries: Malcolm Langa, Damon Sinuka. Conversion: Mauritz Maritz. FNB Player That Rocks: Alberth Kapenda (FNB DUT)
FNB CPUT 18 (6) – Tries: Keano Cookson, Ché Klaasen. Conversion: Feghorn-Leigh Synders. Penalties: Snyders (2). FNB UKZN Impi 20 (10) – Tries: CJ Osode, Zamakuhle Zulu. Conversions: Dawro Kock, Jarryd Nicholls. Penalties: Kock, Nicholls. FNB Player That Rocks: Ché Klaasen (FNB CPUT)
Round 7 fixtures (Friday, 8 April)
FNB UFH Blues vs FNB DUT (15:00, Sisa Dukashe Stadium, SuperSport channel 207)
FNB WSU All Blacks vs FNB CPUT (17:00, Sisa Dukashe Stadium, SuperSport channel 207)
FNB TUT Vikings vs FNB Rhodes (TUT Stadium, 17:00)
Photos: Luigi Bennett/ASEM Engage