FNB Varsity Cup
FNB UFS Shimlas fought hard to claim a 26-15 bonus-point win against FNB UP-Tuks and consolidate their position at the top of the FNB Varsity Cup log.
The heavy rain in Bloemfontein on Monday took its toll on the pitch and many feared that the conditions might inhibit the hosts’ attacking ambitions.
Those fears proved unfounded, though, when Shimlas took the fight to the highly-rated Tuks pack and then unleashed their dangerous backs to score three tries inside 35 minutes.
The players left the field for a brief period due to lightning in the area. When the teams returned, FNB UFS Shimlas struggled to regain the initiative.
The visitors hit back in the second half via two well-executed mauls. Stefan Coetzee’s conversion brought FNB UP-Tuks within four points of the hosts with nine minutes left on the clock.
The hosts had the final say, though, scoring in the last minute to secure the four-try bonus point and an important win.
With one round to play, FNB UFS Shimlas are well placed to top the FNB Varsity Cup log.
By contrast, FNB UP-Tuks – who claimed no log points from the fixture in Bloem – may need a win against FNB UJ next week to advance to the semi-finals.
In Bellville, FNB UJ powered their way to a 50-28 bonus-point win against FNB UWC to move clear of the relegation zone.
The Orange Army can breathe easier having secured their place in next year’s FNB Varsity Cup.
What’s more, the big win against FNB UWC has kept them in the hunt for a spot in the 2022 playoffs – although they will need to win their next match and hope that other results go their way.
FNB UWC will lament their poor performance in this must-win fixture. They failed to meet the challenge of the FNB UJ forwards at the gainline and lost the territorial battle.
The hosts conceded a series of penalties in their own half and flank Godfrey Muzanargwo was shown two yellow cards – and ultimately a red – before the end of the first stanza.
FNB UJ used their maul and the big kicking boot of Jonathan Viljoen to devastating effect. They went to the break with a 31-14 lead and with the four-try bonus point in the bag.
The visitors maintained the pressure after the break. The attack racked up 50 points, but the defence could not stop FNB UWC from claiming a bonus point for four or more tries.
FNB UWC will face FNB Maties next week. They will need a bonus-point win at the Danie Craven Stadium, and they will need other results to go their way, in order to avoid relegation to the FNB Varsity Shield.
In Stellenbosch, winger Marcqiewn Titus scored a hat-trick as FNB Maties thrashed the already-relegated FNB Madibaz 61-21.
The hosts scored eight tries in total, with flyhalf Jurie Matthee and replacement loose forward Siya Matanda each grabbing a brace.
Matthee also kicked seven conversions and a penalty goal to finish with a 27-point haul and the FNB Player That Rocks award.
The FNB NWU Eagles scored two late tries to beat a gutsy FNB CUT Ixias team 33-14 in Bloemfontein.
With rain pouring down throughout the match, both sides played within themselves while making good use of their forwards.
The hosts took a 14-7 lead late in the first half thanks to two driving maul tries that saw their backs rush in to help the forwards get over the line.
But the Eagles, who opened the scoring with a maul try from lock Marvelous Mashimbyi, hit back just before the break when winger Tino Swanepoel scored from a kick-pass.
Replacement fullback Heinrich Botha finished off a backline move at the end of the third quarter, before replacement scrumhalf Riaan Genis and No 8 André Fouché struck late to secure a bonus-point win that keeps the Eagles’ semi-final hopes alive.
In Johannesburg, the FNB UCT Ikeys boosted their hopes of hosting a semi-final with a 47-23 win against FNB Wits.
The visitors led 14-0 after 20 minutes thanks to tries by centre Suleiman Hartzenberg (point-of-origin) and hooker Keagan Blanckenberg, before the hosts hit back with two converted tries that levelled the scores.
But FNB UCT crossed the line again in first-half stoppage time through lock Reynhardt Crous and went on to dominate the second half, scoring another four tries.
FNB Wits didn’t help their cause by having two players – flank Alexander Skudder and lock Edward White – yellow carded within 10 minutes of each other.
Varsity Cup Round 8 results and scorers:
FNB UWC 28 (14) – Tries: Mauritz Swart, Will Vraagom (1x7), Justin Theys, Peter Williams (1x7). Conversions: Lyle Hendricks (2). FNB UJ 50 (24) – Tries: Keegan Joubert., Darnell Osuagwu (2), Musawenkosi Tshabalala, Chergin Fillies, Shaun-Christian Baxter, Kelvin Kanenungo. Conversions: Jonathan Viljoen (6). Penalty: Viljoen. FNB Player That Rocks: Musawenkosi Tshabalala, (FNB UJ)
FNB UFS Shimlas 26 (19) – Tries: Jooste Nel, Ruwald van der Merwe, Litha Nkula, Nqobani Dlamini. Conversions: Nkula (3). FNB UP-Tuks 15 (3) – Tries: Mihlali Stamper, Allister Williams. Conversion: Stefan Coetzee. Penalty: Walter Visser. FNB Player That Rocks: Thabo Ndimande (FNB UFS Shimlas)
FNB Maties 61 (31) – Tries: Marcqiewn Titus (2x7, 1x5), Chris Rossouw, Jurie Matthee (2), Siya Matanda (2). Conversions: Matthee (7). Penalty: Matthee. FNB Madibaz 21 (7) – Tries: Arnouw Nel, Anovuyo Moyikwa, Jade Stoffels. Conversions: Sibalomzi Mqeni, Kholiowe Khonza (2). FNB Player That Rocks: Jurie Matthee (FNB Maties)
FNB CUT Ixias 14 (14) – Tries: Tiaan Drotske, Septimus Derkesen. Conversions: Floris Brand (2). FNB NWU Eagles 33 (12) – Tries: Marvelous Mashimbyi, Tino Swanepoel, Heinrich Botha, Riaan Genis, André Fouché. Conversions: Martin Venter (4). FNB Player That Rocks: André Fouché (FNB NWU Eagles)
FNB Wits 23 (14) – Tries: Dameon Venter, Luhle Matyolweni, Ebot Buma (1x7). Conversions: Chris Humphries (3). FNB UCT Ikeys 47 (19) – Tries: Suleiman Hartzenberg (1x7), Keagan Blanckenberg, Reynhardt Crous, Ntokozo Makhaza, Duran Koevort, Thomas Meyer, Jason MacLeod Smith (1x7). Conversions: Koevort (2), Kyle Bowman (2). FNB Player That Rocks: David Hayes (FNB UCT Ikeys)
FNB Varsity Cup Round 9 fixtures (11 April):
FNB UJ vs FNB UP-Tuks (17:00, UJ Stadium, SuperSport channel 211)
FNB NWU Eagles vs FNB Wits (19:00, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground, SuperSport channel 211)
FNB Maties vs FNB UWC (19:00, Danie Craven Stadium, SuperSport Schools App)
FNB Madibaz vs FNB UFS Shimlas (19:00, Madibaz Stadium, SuperSport Schools App)
FNB UCT Ikeys vs FNB CUT Ixias (19:00, UCT Rugby Fields, SuperSport Schools App)
Photos: Hannes Naude/Nasief Manie/Luigi Bennett/Van Zyl Naude/Dominic Barnardt/ASEM Engage