UWC puts Fort Hare to the sword
VARSITY SHIELD FINAL: UWC were in an unforgiving mood as they made light work of Fort Hare, running in six unanswered tries to claim an emphatic 45-2 victory to claim the 2017 Varsity Shield title.
It was a case of third time lucky for the Cape Town-based students as they came up short on two previous occasions. The result also handed UWC some revenge after Fort Hare claimed a 32-31 victory when the teams met in Alice earlier in the competition.
A dominant opening 40 minutes saw the home side race to a 21-0 team at the break before adding a further 24 points in the second half.
UWC held onto the ball from the kick-off and took it through the phases. They made their way onto Fort Hare's five-metre line before outside centre Michaine Fick stepped his way through to open the scoring. Aidynn Cupido failed with the conversion as the home side led 5-0 after three minutes.
Things went a bit scrappy for the next few minutes but UWC's backline was quick to settle things down. Wing Andre Manuel received the ball inside his half and set off on a blistering run that got his side into Fort Hare's 22. Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies was in support and cantered over for the try.
Cupido made no mistake with the conversion on this occasion to stretch the home side's lead to 13-0 after 11 minutes.
A rare Fort Hare attack placed UWC under pressure and handed the visitors a chance to get some points on the board but Jeandre Christian failed with a penalty attempt just before the first strategy break.
Possession exchanged hands on numerous occasions from that point as both sides struggled to maintain possession long enough to launch decent attacks. UWC found themselves with an attacking scrum on Fort Hare's five-metre line and managed to push their opponents back.
This created space for Jantjies to snipe around the fringe and grab his second try of the match. Cupido added the extras to ensure a 21-0 lead at the half-time interval.
Fort Hare got themselves on the board in the 42nd-minute when Jeandre Christian slotted a penalty after UWC were penalised at the breakdown.
UWC grabbed their fourth try in the 50th-minute when, from a dominant line-out and maul, replacement hooker Ismaeel Schroeder dotted down. Cupido duly converted to hold a comfortable 29-2 lead.
Fort Hare's task became tougher in the 57th-minute when Luyolo Batshise was shown a yellow card for a dangerous, tip-tackle. UWC scored their fifth try from the resulting penalty as Justin Theys muscled his way over from close range.
As the match fizzled out, UWC grabbed another try in the 77th minute when Kurt-Lee Arendse launched a counter attack after Fort Hare needlessly kicked the ball away. The wing breezed through a massive hole before releasing fellow wing Andre Manuel who raced away down the line.
Cupido's was on target once again with the conversion to ensure put the seal on a dominant performance.
Note: Conversions are worth three points while penalties and drop goals contribute just two points.
Man of the match: Thulani Njenje was the stand-out Fort Hare player as he put in some massive hits while also carrying strongly when the opportunity arose. Zayne Farmers looked dangerous when he was given space. Herschel Jantjies was a thorn in Fort Hare's side and Aidynn Cupido kept his side on the front foot with some excellent tactical kicking. Andre Manuel had a few blistering runs while outside centre Michaine Fick ran the backline. Our award goes to lock Brandon Valentyn. He stole line-out ball at will to win back possession, got stuck into the opposition in the collisions and was an absolute workhorse all over the park.
Tries: Fick, Jantjies 2, Schroeder, Theys, Manuel
Cons: Cupido 5
For Fort Hare:
Yellow card: Luyolo Batshise (Fort Hare, 57 - tip tackle)
UWC: 15 Daniel Bock, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Michaine Fick, 12 Johannes Carstens, 11 Andre Manuel, 10 Aidynn Cupido, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Adrian Paarwater, 7 Shaine Orderson, 6 Dean van Tonder, 5 Curtley Thomas, 4 Brandon Valentyn, 3 Justin Theys, 2 Ralph Jansen, 1 Mzo Buthelezi.
Replacements: 16 Ismaeel Schroeder, 17 Nathan Cloete, 18 Matthew le Roux, 19 Alwyn Carstens, 20 Clayton Daniels, 21 Rodrick Moses, 22 Keagan Fortune, 23 Bradley Jumaats.
Fort Hare: 15 Siphoxolo Zaula, 14 Zayne Farmers, 13 Xolela Daniels, 12 Somila Jho, 11 Wilfred Bowers, 10 Jeandre Christian, 9 Qhama Masiza, 8 Sibusiso Sityebi, 7 Thulani Njenje, 6 Zanoxolo Qwele, 5 Philisani Ncoko, 4 Athenkosi Makeleni, 3 Bulelani Mdodana, 2 Mkhonto Caku-caku, 1 Luxhanti Tame.
Replacements: 16 Litha Magocoba, 17 Asiphe Fanele, 18 Siphosethu Tsotsa, 19 Lukho Jongizulu, 20 Lindokuhle Kenene, 21 Luyolo Batshise, 22 Sibongile Novuka, 23 Sivuyile Mdishwa.
Referee: Paul Mente
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Hennie Daniller
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
By Tauriq Ebrahim