UKZN Impi give log leaders Wits a run for their money

2012-03-14 00:00

RANK outsiders the University of KZN Impi gave Varsity Shield log-leaders Wits University a right run for their money before going down 21-12 in Johannesburg on Monday night.

In what was reportedly a great game of rugby, UKZN were 8-2 up at half time and then 12-11 ahead with three minutes remaining when Wits managed to step up a gear and win the match. In this competition a conversion is worth three points, while penalty goals and drop-goals are worth two points.

“For the most part UKZN had the better of Wits,” said UKZN head coach Beans Bateman. “The lead changed hands throughout the second half and with three minutes left UKZN took the lead 12-11.

“It looked as if victory was on the cards, but from the resulting kick-off Wits were awarded a penalty and the two points from the kick meant they went back in front 13-12.”

From that point, Bateman said a well-worked try and the subsequent three points for the conversion took Wits to victory.

“UKZN put in their best perfor­mance of the season, no doubt about it,” said Bateman. “All credit to Wits for their determined finish, but I am extremely proud of the UKZN team, who did everything but win.”

A good turnout of Varsity Old Boys did much to spur on UKZN, whose points were scored by centre Willem Rheeder (try) and arguably the player of the match, flyhalf Hanno Botha. Botha kicked two penalties and a conversion.

UKZN host University of Fort Hare at 7 pm on Monday at the Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road before they wrap up the competition against University of Western Cape at the same venue on March 26.

Meanwhile, Bloemfontein’s Central University of Technology destroyed third-placed UWC 73-8 to edge ahead of Wits, although both have 24 log points.

With just one game left for Wits and CUT, the stakes are high.

 

VARSITY SHIELD

Monday’s results: Wits 21 UKZN 12; CUT 73 Western Cape 8.

Log (played 7 unless stated): 1 CUT 24 points; 2 Wits 24 points; 3 Western Cape (6) 16 pts; 4 Fort Hare (6) 11 pts; 5 (6) UKZN 0 pts.

Remaining matches: Mar 19 UKZN vs Fort Hare (PMB), Western Cape vs Wits; Mar 26 UKZN vs Western Cape (PMB); Fort Hare vs CUT.

UKZN results: UKZN 10 CUT 30; Fort Hare 36 UKZN 21; Western Cape 61 UKZN 10; UKZN 10 Wits 18; CUT 42 UKZN 4; Wits 21 UKZN 12.

 

* The Maties officially ended the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) reign as champions in Stellenbosch on Monday, but Potchefstroom was the scene of the major drama in round six of the 2012 Varsity Cup.

While the Maties, the only unbeaten side in the tournament, ended any hopes of an Ikey semi-final place with a 45-5 victory over UCT, the North West University (Pukke), in turn, booked themselves a place in the semi-finals with a dramatic 34-32 win over the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Pukke cannot be caught in fourth place, but next week’s final round of league action — UCT vs UP-Tuks; UJ vs Maties; NWU-Pukke vs Shimlas; TUT vs NMMU — will simply serve to confirm the four semi-final fixtures and which team will finish seventh and thereby play a promotion/relegation match against the second-placed Varsity Shield side.

The TUT Vikings, despite their brave effort in going down 36-56 to the Shimlas, will be relegated from the Varsity Cup — in favour of the winning Varsity Shield team — but any one of UCT, NMMU or the Shimlas can still play in the promotion/relegation fixture depending on what happens next week.

Maties top the Varsity Cup log on 27 points, followed by UP-Tuks (25), UJ (22), NWU-Pukke (19), Shimlas and NMMU (both on 11 points), UCT (nine points) and TUT, who collected their first log point of the season by scoring four tries against the Shimlas.

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