Four matches, four big wins and Shimlas confirming the fourth place and a semi-final next weekend marked the last round of the Varsity Cup league phase on Monday night.
The Ikey-Tigers, playing with the strong wind at he Green Mile, were ahead by only 13-10 against the Ixias at the break, but then played effective rugby in the wind to beat the Bloemfontein side 36-10. They scored four tries which gave them a bonus point and 20 points on the log.
♦ There was still hope for a Wits play-off, but the Shimlas put paid to that when, after being held for 16 minutes before scoring their first try, they suddenly turned on the try-switch to be up 23-0 by the break. UJ fought back with two tries of their own in the first 15 minutes of the second half before the Free State side cored their fourth for the bonus point and run out comfortable 38-14 winners at a very wet UJ Stadium and secure their fourth place and semi-final berth.
They will play Maties in Stellenbosch next Monday night, hoping to turn around the loss of 14-59 to the Stellenbosch students a few weeks ago.
♦ Wits were still in with a chance. When the took to the field in Potchefstroom Shimlas were struggling to score against UJ on a wet field. Wits had to beat Pukke with a bonus point and hope the Shimlas lose, and the Witsies clearly started off with that in mind, rolling and driving with their forwards and were deservedly 3-0 up after 10 minutes.
But with the score at 74 points to 10 the Pukke walked off the field after a very impressive showing in all facets from the scrums to rounding off their chances at the back effectively.
They scored nine tries, four of them seven-pointers, and Schalk Hugo converted from all angles and added a penalty.
Pukke play Tuks in Pretoria in the other semi-final next Monday. Pukke lost 0-28 on their home ground to Tuks two weeks ago, and the scoreline of that match could perhaps make Tuks, who had a bye on Monday, a little over-confident – always a no-no before a play-off!
♦ In the other match the Maties ran in 12 tries to four to trounce new boys in the competition UWC 84-26