Dominant Impi cruise into Varsity Shield final

2015-03-31 00:00

UKZN Impi only needed one half to secure their spot in the Varsity Shield final as they trounced University of Fort Hare 42-0 at the Howard College campus stadium in Durban last night.

The Impi needed to score four tries and win the game in order to book their spot in the final against Wits — who had already secured a home final last week.

The hero and standout of the night was inside centre Marius Louw, who scored a hat-trick of tries to inspire his side to a straightforward victory.

The hosts came out firing in the first half and did all the damage needed before the half-time whistle. After a number of early errors, Impi managed to break the deadlock in the first five minutes through Louw. Kicking for the line after being awarded a penalty, Impi tapped the ball off the top of a lineout deep inside the UFH half. The ball went straight to Louw, who powered through the UFH defensive line to score in the left hand corner off the set piece. Fullback Spa Dube slotted the conversion to make it 8-0.

Play then switched hands for the next 10 minutes, while Impi were the more dominant side on both attack and defence. It wasn’t long before they turned that dominance into their second try. The Impi capitalised off a five-metre scrum, and number 8 Retief Marais powered over the line for an unconverted try to make it 13 all at the 20-minute strategy break.

The hosts struck again after the break after building up a number of phases with some good interplay between forwards and backs. Scrumhalf Langa Shange darted around a ruck to pop over the line for his side’s third of the night, which Dube converted to make it 21-0.

Slippery conditions began to play their part after the third try, as both sides started spilling the ball in the damp. Matters were made worse when a brawl broke out between the sides. It all started after altercation between Shange and UFH’s lock Lwando Ntete. Both received yellow cards for the incident.

But that did not stop the Impi, who scored the all important bonus point try soon after through Louw. He scored off a wonderful running line directly from a five metre scrum, proving too powerful once again for the would-be UFH defenders. Dube slotted the extras to make it 29-0 at half time.

There was little to write about in the second half, as the ball swopped hands through the half as both sides struggled with the wet ball. However, Impi’s defence stood out in the second stanza.

In between their defensive efforts, Louw grabbed his third of the night. The ball went out to the backs off a lineout and Louw once again stepped and smashed his way to the line. Dube converted (37-0).

Play seesawed for the remaining 25 minutes as errors made for disappointing viewing. The Impi then gathered themselves in the last five minutes and began to attack with real venom.

With just two minutes to go, Imp lock Adam Wessels scored the final try of the match. UFH kicked the ball from their goalline and the Impi counter attacked. Simple hands saw the ball go wide to Wessels, who was lurking on the wing.

The massive forward bullied his way to score in the corner to make it 42-0 as the impending conversion sailed wide.

The Impi now face Wits in the Varsity Shield final next Monday in Johannesburg.

Point scorers

UKZN Impi 42 (29): Tries: Marius Louw (3) Retief Marais, Adam Wessels, Langa Shange. Conversions: Dube (4)

UFH 0.

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