Impi miss vital kick to lose 26-25 to CUT

2014-01-28 00:00

IT was a case of so near yet so far for the University of KZN Impi in the opening game of the 2014 Varsity Shield as defending champions Central University of Technology held out for a 26-25 win in Bloemfontein yesterday.

Outstanding Impi flyhalf Brandon Cope, who was instrumental in conjuring up his side’s try in the dying minutes, was wide with what would have been the match-winning last kick of the match.

The Impi were impressive at the start as well as in the initial phases of the second half and finished strongly, yet they took their foot off the pedal to allow CUT back into the game.

With so much at stake this year there was huge commitment by both teams and the chanting, singing crowd added to the pressure-cooker atmosphere.

Flyhalf Noel Marx converted a penalty for CUT to get on the scoreboard before the Impi made maximum use of 122 kg tighthead prop Stefan van Schalkwyk to go over for the first try. Centre Rico Lategan and scrumhalf Cameron Wright set up the massive front-ranker.

With a conversion worth three points and a penalty two points, UKZN were 8-2 up. A Cope penalty goal on the first-half strategy break handed the Impi a 10-2 lead. The setback was a call for CUT to take control and two promising try-scoring chances went awry before the pressure led to busy Impi number eight Deon Carney’s yellow card.

Marx jinked over for a converted try to level the scores, but Cope’s penalty saw the Impi edge back in front 12-10 before half time.

After the changeover a neat Wright tactical kick saw right wing Shayne Makombe go in for a converted try under the posts. At 20-10 the Impi had the match in their grasp, but after the second-half strategy break, CUT’s Danie van der Merwe, surged across the whitewash. Slick inter-passing then let centre Johan van Schalkwyk in for the game-breaking try and CUT had earned a 26-20 lead.

Winger Makombe used all his strength to stretch over the tryline at the end after Cope’s clever kick but the number 10 missed the vital conversion and CUT went home smiling.


CUT (10) 26 Tries: Noel Marx, Danie van der Merwe, Johan van Schalkwyk. Conversions: Marx 3. Penalty: Marx.

UKZN Impi (12) 25 Tries: Stefan van Schalkwyk, Shayne Makombe (2). Conversions: Brandon Cope (2). Penalties: Cope (2).

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