Steyn secures Shimlas victory
VARSITY CUP REPORT: A 72nd minute try by replacement hooker Francois Steyn secured Shimlas a hard-fought 26-21 bonus-point victory over Wits in Johannesburg on Monday.
The lead changed hands on numerous occasions as the sides ran the ball on every occassion, despite wet conditions. Shimlas took the lead just before half-time but were trailing soon after the resumption when Wits regained the lead, only to relinquish that lead in the 10 minutes.
It was not all gloom for Wits though as they secured a losing bonus-point for their efforts.
Both sides set about getting themselves on the front foot as they took the game to their opponents, however, both defences stood firm as the match remained scoreless in the opening 15 minutes.
It was the home side who broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when a solid scrum just outside Shimlas' 22 saw the ball handed to flyhalf Warren Gilbert and his perfectly timed pass found wing Kwanele Ngema, who ran a brilliant line to dot down under the uprights. Gilbert added the extras to ensure a 7-0 lead.
Shimlas remained confident with ball in hand and maintained their pressure on the Wits' defence. They eventually found reward in the 26th minute when Marco Mason received the ball in acres of space to have an easy run-in. He failed with the conversion though as his side trailed 5-7.
The pressure took its toll on Wits as they were reduced to 14 men in the 28th minute when Ruan MacDonald was sent to the bin for intentionally slowing the ball down at the breakdown. Shimlas kept plugging away and grabbed their second score when scrumhalf Dian Badenhorst's quick thinking got him over the line.
Mason added the conversion to ensure a 12-7 lead.
Shimlas began to turn the screw as they launched an attack from inside their half. The continuous phase saw them run the ball from inside their 22, utilising almost every player before Niell Stannard rounded it off by dotting down in the corner and claim the first seven-point try.
Mason was once again off target with the conversion attempt but Shimlas had managed to stretch their lead to 19-7 after 35 minutes, and that's how it remained at the half-time interval.
Wits got themselves back into the game in the 46th minute when they took the ball through the phases. The ball was shuffled to the outside channel where Graham Logan was waiting to grab the easy score. Gilbert's conversion ensured his side trailed 14-19.
Shimlas were reduced to 14 men in the 50th minute when No.8 Bernadus Erasmus was sent to the bin for a cynical infringement. Wits took full advantage as a powerful maul from a five-metre line-out saw hooker CJ Conradie bash over.
Gilbert added the conversion once again to ensure a 21-19 lead after 52 minutes.
The match remained tense for the nest 20 minutes until Shimlas regained the lead with their bonus-point, fourth try. The visitors set about gaining some territory and after a few phases, replacement hooker Francois Steyn bashed his way over. Mason slotted the extras to ensure a 26-21 after 72 minutes.
Shimlas remained on the front foot for the remainder of the game and their task was made easier in the 77th minute when Ngema was sent to the bin for a neck roll.
Tries: Ngema, Logan, Conradie
Cons: Gilbert 2
Tries: Mason, Badenhorst, Stannard, Steyn
Cons: Mason 2
Yellow cards: Ruan MacDonald (Wits, 28); Bernadus Erasmus (Shimlas 50); Kwanele Ngema (Wits, 77)
Wits: 15 Lux Ntsepe, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Josh Jarvis, 12 AJ van Blerk, 11 Jarred Branco, 10 Warren Gilbert (captain), 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Jethro de Lange, 7 Mike Renwick, 6 Ruan MacDonald, 5 Rhyno Herbst, 4 Graham Logan, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 CJ Conradie, 1 CJ Greeff.
Replacements: 16 Justin Brandon, 17 Ameer Williams, 18 Pascal Snyman, 19 Chris Worthington, 20 Wolta Mtsweni, 21 Brandan Hewitt, 22 Themba Mpemvu, 23 Brandon Palmer.
Shimlas: 15 Sechaba Motsoela, 14 Marco Mason, 13 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 12 Stephan Janse van Rensburg (captain), 11 Vuyani Maqina, 10 Niell Stannard, 9 Dian Badenhorst, 8 Bernadus Erasmus, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Nicolaas Immelman, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Hanno Snyman, 1 Kwenzokuhle Blose.
Replacements: 16 Francois Steyn, 17 Johan Kotze, 18 Raymond Woest, 19 Musa Mahlesa, 20 Rewan Kruger, 21 Lihleli Xoli, 22 Nicholas Naude, 23 Thabiso Msiza.
Referee: Stephan Geldenhuys
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Johan Greeff