The 2018 Varsity Cup competition kicked off with a shock result as Shimlas ambushed defending champions Tuks on Monday night, while Pukke steamrolled CUT and Wits came back to edge UCT in Cape Town.
Shimlas proved that experience means nothing in the Varsity Cup, beating Tuks 19-17 at a cold and wet Tuks Rugby Stadium with 11 players on debut.
Tuks scored the opening try of the season when flyhalf Tinus de Beer connect with wing Xolisa Guma on a cross-kick.
Shimlas struck back soon after the first strategy break as wing Gideon Agenbag stormed down the touchline to score a seven-point try. Flyhalf Lubabalo Dobela converted.
The score remained the same until halftime despite Tuks running full tilt at the men from Bloemfontein who dug in their heels on defence.
Shimlas scored within five minutes of the restart as flank Benjamin Janse van Vuuren crashed over in the corner for a converted try.
It may have been Dobela’s Varsity Cup debut but he controlled the match like a seasoned veteran and kicked a penalty that gave the visitors a lead with 30 minutes to go.
The defending champions scored next, with inside centre Toko Seerane dotting down after Shimlas lost replacement prop Joseph Botha to a yellow card.
Tuks captain and loose forward, Denzel Hill scored a consolation try for the home team but it was not enough as De Beer knocked over his first kick of the match.
In Cape Town, Wits scored two late tries to claim a dramatic 30-26 win against UCT.
UCT’s physicality in the early exchanges seemed to bewilder the visitors, but the Wits defence won a crucial turnover and sent the ball wide to speedster Kasande Kapepula who countered from his own half to score in the corner and claim a seven-point try. Wits flyhalf Christian Humphries converted, making the score 9-0 to the men from Jozi.
Wits kept the home side under sustained pressure and looked as though they were going to score again but the Cape Town boys held fast and No 8 Nyasha Tarusenga converted an attacking lineout drive into a try in the corner.
Wits went into the first strategy break 9-7 points up and they failed to build on that lead in the second quarter as their efforts were thwarted by UCT’s defence.
That missed opportunity was compounded when a powerful Ikeys scrum ramped up the pressure on the Wits tight five and, after what was deemed a deliberate infringement, UCT were awarded a penalty-try and thus trotted off with a 14-9 lead at the break.
Wits reclaimed the lead when a strong forward drive led to Constant Beckerling crashing over for a try with Humphries converting to give the visitors a 16-14 advantage. Fullback Kyle Martin scored a try and went on to kick a penalty that put UCT into a 26-16 lead at the second strategy break.
But Wits weren’t ready to surrender just yet. They set up a forward drive deep in UCT’s 22 and, after some ferocious running, replacement prop Chris Hume barged over with Humphries adding the extras.
Revitalised by the try, Wits once again sent an errant kick wide to Kapepula and the winger showed some fancy footwork before passing inside to AJ van Blerk who dived across the line to score the match-winning try.
Pukke demolished CUT in Potchefstroom, running in nine tries for a 70-7 victory against Ixias.
NWU won the toss and hit the ground running with Walt Steenkamp, Dean Gordon and Estehan Visagie eaching crossing for a try, converted by Schalk Hugo, that gave Pukke a 21-0 lead after 25 minutes of play.
CUT had an opportunity to get some points on the board after being awarded a penalty, but Heinrich Bitzi was unable to convert. Hugo succeeded where Bitzi had failed, and the hosts moved into a 24-0 lead with 6 minutes left in the first half.
But, right on the cusp of half time, Ixias hooker Tiaan Erasmus drove over the line and Bitzi nailed the conversion to make it 24-7 at the break.
Gordon scored a seven-point try after collecting a brilliant cross-kick from Hugo. Tapiwa Mafura’s great show of pace to score in the corner put Pukke into a 40-7 lead, and Gideon van der Merwe added to CUT’s woes when he dotted down with 30 minutes remaining.
Ironically, Pukke failed to add a single point to their tally during the three-minute Power Play period, despite playing against 13 men, but Visagie crossed for the second time during CUT’s Power Play (54-7).
Hendrik Marais scored a runaway try from inside his own half, giving NWU their third seven-point try of the game and, just before the final whistle, Evardi Boshoff got his first try and NWU’s ninth, with Schalk Hugo nailing his last conversion for the win.
At UJ, Stellenbosch put significantly strengthened squad to full use.
Two minutes into the match, Chris Smith put a genius grubber between the UJ defenders that Michal Haznar ran onto to score. UJ hit back through a penalty by Jean-Luc Cilliers, but Maties immediately took their Power Play, removing fullback Ronald Brown and wing Tyreeq February. Duncan Saal collected a clever kick to dot down. Maties led 19-3.
Matching attacking flair with a solid defense, Maties were dominant at the breakdown with new recruit – Tuks’ winning captain of 2017 – Chris Massyn a catalyst in bullying the opposition forwards.
The second half was all maroon, as Duncan Saal added his second of the match, which was converted by Smith, putting Maties 26-3 ahead. Johan Momsen put the result beyond doubt when he crashed over in the corner to seal victory.
TUKS 17-19 SHIMLAS
Tries: Xolisa Guma, Toko Seerane, Denzel Hill
Cons: Tinus de Beer
Tries: Francois Agenbag (seven point), Benjamin Janse van Vuuren
Cons: Lubabalo Dobela (2)
Yellow card: Joseph Botha
TUKS: 15 WJ Strydom, 14 Dewald Naude, 13 Tony Botha, 12 Toko Seerane, 11 Xolisa Guma, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Theo Maree, 8 Clyde Davids, 7 Denzel Hill (c), 6 Jaco Bezuidenhout, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Marius Verwey, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Franco van den Berg
Bench: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Ettienne Janeke, 18 Ruan Nortje, 19 Eduan Lubbe, 20 Carlo Engelbrecht, 21 Zandre Kruger, 22 Mehle Nelani, 23 Mornay Smith
SHIMLAS: 15 Nicholas Naude, 14 Athi Halom, 13 Kurt Eybers, 12 Sango Xamlashe, 11 Francois Agenbag, 10 Lubabalo Dobela, 9 Dian Badenhorst, 8 Albertus de Bod, 7 Menzi Nhlabathi, 6 Benjamin Janse van Vuuren, 5 Henk Pretorius, 4 Sibalalo Qoma, 3 Mogau Mabokela, 2 Hanno Snyman, 1 Johan Kotze (c)
Bench: 16 JC Janse van Vuuren, 17 Wentzel Vorster, 18 Joseph Botha, 19 Raymond Woest, 20 Christoffel Roelofse, 21 Zinedine Booysen, 22 Carel Coetzee, 23 Sechaba Matsoel
UCT 26-30 WITS
Tries: Nyasha Tarusenga, penalty try, Kyle Martin
Cons: Martin (2)
Tries: Kasande Kapepula, Constant Beckerling, Chris Hume, AJ van Blerk
Cons: Christian Humphries (2)
UCT: 15 Kyle Martin, 14 Rayno Mapoe, 13 Khanyo Ngcukana, 12 Joel Smith, 11 Sebastian Roodt, 10 Darian Hock, 9 Stef de Gouveia, 8 Nyasha Tarusenga, 7 Josh Moon, 6 Liam Greenhalgh, 5 Duncan Saffy, 4 David Meihuizen, 3 Simon Raw, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 1 Ashwyn Adams
Bench: 16 Josh Van Vuuren, 17 Wayrin Losper, 18 Toks Khomo, 19 Gary Porter, 20 Kwezi Puza, 21 Pieter Schoonraad , 22 Lohan Lubbe, 23 Suwilanji Chibale
WITS: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Peabo Ngema, 13 Gregory Champion ,12 AJ van Blerk, 11 Kasande Kapepula, 10 Christian Humphries, 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Ayabulela Mdudi, 7 Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt, 6 Constant Beckerling, 5 Ludwig Snyman, 4 Dawid Bodenstein, 3 Jacobus Greeff, 2 John Conradie, 1 Ameer Williams
Bench: 16 Carl Brandon, 17 Peter Hume, 18 Sipho Siboza, 19 Lwazi Monakali, 20 Jethro de Lange, 21 Morne van der Berg, 22 Manqoba Mbatha, 23 Siliwe Luyolo
PUKKE 70-7 CUT
Tries: Walt Steenkamp, Dean Gordon (2), Estehan Visagie (2), Tapiwa Mafura, Gideon van der Merwe, Hendrik Marais, Evardi Boshoff
Cons: Schalk Hugo (7)
Pens: Schalk Hugo
Try: Tiaan Erasmus
Con: Heinrich Bitzi
PUKKE: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Dean Gordon, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Akhona Nela, 11 Dean Stokes, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswell September, 8 Pieter Bezuidenhout, 7 Estehan Visagie, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Johannes Retief, 3 Johannes Ferreira, 2 Siphesihle Mngadi, 1 Morné Strydom
Bench: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Duren Fillies, 20 Edward Haas, 21 Nkosana Mathaba, 22 Hendrik Marais, 23 Jimmy Mpailane
CUT: 15 Rasmus Breedt, 14 Dimitrio Tieties, 13 Duncan van Vuuren, 12 Mazithulele Nkosi, 11 Dian Dry, 10 Heinrich Bitzi, 9 Ruben De Haas, 8 Stefan Kruger, 7 Rayno Nel, 6 Dean Rossouw, 5 Brendon Fortuin, 4 Sylvester Makakole, 3 Hendrik Smit, 2 Tiaan Erasmus, 1 Quintin Vorster
Bench: 16 Johannes Terblanche, 17 Raynard Esterhuizen, 18 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 19 Isiah Bila, 20 Songezo Ngozi, 21 Ruben Heymans, 22 Masego Toolo, 23 Tiisetso Madonsela
UJ 3-31 MATIES
Pen: Jean-Luc Cilliers
Tries: Duncan Saal, Michal Haznar, Duncan Saal (7-point), Johan Momsen
Cons: Chris Smith (2)
Yellow cards: Mitchell Carstens
UJ: 15 Ronald Brown, 14 Tyreeq February, 13 Cyprian Nkomo, 12 Jaco Fourie, 11 Tatendaishe Mujawo, 10 Jeanluc Cilliers, 9 Bradley Thain, 08 Wian Conradie, 07 Adriaan Bester, 6 Siyabonga Luwaca, 5 Estian Enslin, 4 Kevin du Randt, 3 Nico Du Plessis, 2 Johannes Snyman, 1 Dillion Bakos
Bench: 16 Baard Le Roux, 17 Lali Sibusiso, 18 Landsberg Darrien-Lane, 19 Dian Schoonees, 20 Johan Eesterhuizen, 21 Kobus Engelbrecht, 22 Seun Maduna, 23 Cohen Kiewit
MATIES: 1 Chippy Oelofse, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 3 Johan Fouche, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Johannes Momsen, 6 Chris Massyn, 7 Marno Redelinghuys, 8 Janco Venter, 9 Remu Malan, 10 Chris Smith, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 12 Chris Smit, 13 Michal Haznar, 14 Duncan Saal, 15 Reinhardt Fortuin
Bench: 16 Hendrik Luus, 17 Mzo Buthelezi, 18 Mitchell Carstens, 19 Stephen Streicher, 20 Logan Boonzaaier, 21 Cornel Smit, 22 Munier Hartzenberg, 23 Petrus Strauss