Cape Town - A try in the final minute gave the defending champion UKZN-Impi a come from behind 26-18 victory over Wits in the first game of the 2016 Varsity Shield played at a packed Peter Booysen Sports Park in Pietermaritzburg.
Wits started the stronger side, scoring an early unconverted try through Thato Marulbela for a 5-0 lead.
Curwin Bosch cut the deficit with a long-range penalty to bring the home side back into the match.
UKZN then grabbed the lead with an excellent try after a clever grubber by wing Thobekani Bhuthelezi allowed Jaywinn Juries to score in the corner.
Bosch converted and the hosts were in front for the first time in the match.
Visitors Wits were soon back onto the attack and were rewarded with an unconverted try after CJ Conradie crossed the whitewash to level the scores at 10-10 at half-time.
In the second half, Wits extended their lead with another converted try through Constant Beckerling and seemed to be building an important lead at 18-10.
UKZN had other ideas however, first scoring through Michael Meyer before substitute Tristan Blewett cut through the visitors defence to score the winning try on the stroke of full-time.
Penalty/Drop Kick - 2 points
Conversion - 3 points
Try - 5 points
UKZN-Impi: 15 Morne Joubert, 14 S'busiso Nkosi, 13 Grant Rattray, 12 Alwayno Visagie, 11 Thobekani Bhuthelezi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaywinn Juries, 8 Adam Wessels, 7 Zwela Zondi, 6 Kerron van Vuuren, 5 Jean Droste, 4 Rikus Zwart, 3 Ntandoyenkosi Mpofana, 2 Mikyle Webster (captain), 1 John-Hubert Meyer.
16 Elrich Konkowski, 17 Andrew Acton, 18 Christiaan van der Merwe, 19 Michael Meyer, 20 Langelihle Shange, 21 Tristan Tedder, 22 Tristan Blewett, 23 Lindokuhle Radebe.
Wits: 15 AJ van Blerk, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Joshua Jarvis, 12 Wade Worthington, 11 Thato Marubela, 10 Warren Gilbert, 9 Luxolo Ntsepe, 8 Aya Mdudi, 7 Connor Brocksmidt, 6 Ruan MacDonald (captain), 5 Rhynou Herbst, 4 Graham Logan, 3 Luvuyo Papuma, 2 CJ Conradie,1 Tijde Visser.
16 Craig Hume, 17 Ameer Williams, 18 Mitchell Fraser, 19 Constant Beckerling, 20 Ruan Cloete, 21 Kyle Weseman, 22 Sicelo Champion, 23 Brandon Palmer.