Fort Hare get first win

John Mitchell (Gallo Images)
John Mitchell (Gallo Images)
Durban - The UFH Blues earned their first win of the Varsity Shield by edging the UKZN Impi to earn a hard-fought 17-12 win at the Howard College Rugby Stadium in Durban.

The UFH Blues overturned a fast start from John Mitchell’s much-fancied UKZN Impi side as they scored the only points of the second half – an uncoverted try from right wing Garth van Rayner – after the teams had been all square at halftime.

UKZN, playing in front of their home crowd for the first time this season, showed their intent early on and raced to an early 2-0 lead through a penalty from flyhalf Brendon Cope after just two minutes.

Soon afterwards UKZN Impi captain Lwazi Ngcungama charged over to put his side in command and Cope was successful with the conversion to give the Impi a 10-0 advantage.

 Their command of the match did not last long however, as Oliver Zono was on a mission to get his side back into the match.

The Blues’ flyhalf did just that – firstly scoring a try which he converted, and then he added a penalty to his team’s cause, squaring up the game in the process to make it 10-10 just before the half hour mark.

The match, played in relatively mild but humid conditions, continued to be evenly-contested duel leading into the halftime break, with just both kickers – Cope and Zono – troubling the scoreboard and adding another penalty each to take the sides into the changerooms locked at 12-12.

The titanic struggle continued in the second half, with handling errors littering the play of both sides and cutting short promising attacks. The mid-second half strategy break was reached without either side adding to their tally.

The UKZN Impi showed a lot of endeavour as they kept trying to break the Blues’ defence, but strong physicality from the visitors and a number of knock-ons and forwards passes hampered the home side’s cause and cutting out any momentum they had gain.

They home side would be made to rue their errors desperately as the Blues  made their chances count much more effectively and scored what would turn out to the the match-winning try just seven minutes from time, through van Rayner.

The conversion was wide from Zono, but it didn’t bother the men from Fort Hare, and they held on to gain a vital victory.

Scorers:
UKZN Impi: 12 - Tries: Lwazi Ngcungama; Conversions: Cope; Penalties: Cope 2

UFH Blues: 17 - Tries: Zono, van Rayner; Conversion: Zono; Penalties: Zono 2

Teams:

UKZN: 15 Brandon Bailing, 14 Shayne Makombe, 13 Gavin Nyawata, 12 Hendrik Lategan, 11 Hendrik Groenewald, 10 Brandon Cope, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Deon Carney, 7 Zwela Zondi, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama (captain), 5 Johan Wagenaar, 4 Adam Wessels, 3 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Henri Boshoff.

Substitutes: 16 Mikyle Webster, 17 Sizwe Kuhbeka, 18 Marco Hillibrand, 19 Sanele Malwane, 20 Nelson Makhanye, 21 Mondli Ntshingila, 22 Alrich Brown, 23 Leon Mulder.

UFH: 15 Khanyiso Komani, 14 Garth van Rayner, 13 Lundi Ralarala, 12 Saneliso Ngoma, 11 Lithabile Mgwadleka, 10 Oliver Zono, 9 Bangihlombe Kobese, 8 Manentsa Athi, 7 Billy Dutton (captain), 6 Dubase Onke, 5 Masixole David, 4 Mzwandile Yalezo, 3 Xola Mapapu, 2 Thembelihle Mpapha, 1 Lwando Mabenge

Substitutes: 16 Madoda Ludidi, 17 Siyabulela Sijula, 18 Olwethu Mputla, 19 Ntyatyambo Mkhafu, 20 Andile Makinana, 21 Sibabalwe Mtsulwana, 22 Mkhululi Sonqishe, 23 Sibabalwe Tshoni.

Referee: Archie Sehlako
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