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SEMI-FINAL WRAP: UWC and CPUT make it an all-Cape final

FNB UWC 39 FNB UFH 13

A perfect road to the final for FNB UWC as they knocked defending champions FNB UFH Bluesoff their perch with an emphatic 39-13 semi-final win at the UWC Sports Stadium.

They will now jostle things out with neighbours FNB CPUT in the first-ever FNB Varsity Shield final featuring both Bellville sides.

Master tactician and controller of the UWC game, Conwill Conradie put in yet another all-around near-perfect performance. The scrumhalf scored a try, converted four of his side's tries, and kicked two penalties to take his tally to 19 points in the match.

Fort Hare held a slender one-point lead, 5-6, with just under ten minutes left in the first half. Merlin du Plessis slotted two long-range penalty attempts, cancelling out UWC's first-minute Ridge Gaffley try.

UWC, however, showed exactly why they haven’t lost a match this season. The 2018 champions rounded the first half off with two quick tries. Mauritz Swart, with his first of two tries, and Conradie both got over the try line to hand the home side a healthy 19-6 lead as the half-time whistle sounded.

A solid foundation was laid by the UWC forwards, their set pieces were just too hard to stop, and this compounded matters for the visitors. Swart completed his brace when he collected the ball at the back of a rolling UWC maul.

Swart put in a clinical performance. The hooker makes scoring tries look too easy, his ability to be in the right place at the right is uncanny. His try tally for the season currently stands at 10.

FNB UWC 39 (19) – Tries: Ridge Gaffley, Conwill Conradie, Mauritz Swart (2), MihlaliTyanase. Conversions: Conwill Conradie (4). Penalties: Conradie (2)

FNB UFH Blues 13 (6) – Try: MthokozisiNdlazi Conversion: Merlin du Plessis. Penalties: Du Plessis (2)

FNB Player That Rocks: Conwill Conradie (UWC)

FNB UWC: 15 Diston Ethan Will, 14 Gaffley Ridge Jozé, 13 Brynard Zhaun-Jacques, 12 Breda Bryan John, 11 NcanaHlomla, 10 Willemse Elkan, 9 Conradie Conwill Brooklyn (Bolla), 8 Magerman Zinzan, 7 Afrika Brent, 6 KuildersAlmore Jnr A. S., 5 van der Merwe Carel, 4 Tattersal Liam, 3 Ceasar Franco Lee, 2 Swart Mauritz, 1 Lamprecht Christian Johan.

FNB UFH: 15 Sidloyi Apiwe, 14Mdladlana Lilitha M. Lunika, 13 Maree Ryan Kelly, 12 Baleni Yonela Sibusiso, 11 GxekwaSalusiwe, 10 du Plessis Merlin Ruwaan, 9 Madiba Lwazi, 8 NgetuZimi Aphendule (Zish), 7 Gcweka Kamvelihle, 6 Tosholwana Lukhanyiso (Jiji), 5 Moyo Walter Benjamim, 4 XhosanaAyabulela, 3 Simani Buntu Ntlakanipho, 2 Fatyela Kamvelihle, 1 Nzima Mesuli S. Samkele.

FNB CPUT 44 FNB MADIBAZ 5

FNB CPUT stormed into the 2023 FNB Varsity Shield final with a no-nonsense44-5 semi-final victory over FNB Madibaz in Gqeberha. The result was already solidified at halftime with the visitors leading 25-0.

In a match that will long be remembered for the number of yellow and red cards dished out – at one point Madibaz had five players in the bin – the visitors did the double on the men from Nelson Mandela Bay, having also won their encounter earlier in the season (35-32).

Despite the home side being at a major disadvantage with so many players off the field at the same time, nothing can be taken away from CPUT’s performance.

Their loose forwards were a force to be reckoned with all afternoon, with lion-hearted number 8 Roland van der Heever having a huge game. Flanks Che Klaasen and Keanan Solomons were equally destructive, getting over the gain line time and time again.

While Madibaz produced some scintillating rugby during the regular season, they just couldn’t get going when it mattered most.

Replacement centre Troy Delport made a strong impression when he came on, but otherwise, it was a day to forget for Madibaz, who now goes on to face CUT for a place in the 2024 FNB Varsity Cup.

FNB CPUT 44 (25) – Tries: Che Klaasen, Keanan Solomons (2), Roland van der Heever (2), Masivuye Mafenyana (1). Conversions: Linton Maritz (2), Oyintando Maseti (2). Penalties: Linton Maritz (2).

FNB Madibaz 5 (0) – Tries: Kholiwe Konza

FNB Player That Rocks: Roland van der Heever (CPUT)

FNB Madibaz: 15 Myburg Kehan, 14 Konza Kholiwe, 13 Kruger Henry Edward, 12 Franks Enrique Linley, 11 Bophi Khakalethu Alivadon, 10 November Chadwyn Ronaldo, 9 Fourie Divan Andre, 8van der Merwe Leon, 7 Solomon Mekyle Recodin, 6 Hlupheko Mzwakhe Kevin, 5 Tokwe Umna, 4 Nogaya Thando Sihle, 3 Limba Aqhamile Khiphi, 2 Olivier Keaton, 1 Limana Chulumance.

FNB CPUT: 15 Stadler Caine Martin, 14 Hartogh Heinrico Keastin,13 Bloys Iwaan, 12 Williams Keenan, 11 Maritz Linton Shawn, 10 Maseti Oyintando Honour, 9 Engelbrecht Hugan, 8 van der Heever Roland Leonard, 7 Solomons Keanan Matteo, 6 Klaasen Ché Oliver, 5 Kubheka Lungelo, 4 Salman Anenceba, 3 Mafenyana Masivuye, 2 Shasha Duke (Shakes), 1 Josephus Jacques-Lynn Graham.

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