Wits off the boil; more pain for Shimlas as Maties trump Tuks

Wits off the boil; more pain for Shimlas as Maties trump Tuks

Photo: Springboks.rugby

The Ikeys and Ixias remain the only unbeaten sides after four round of this year’s Varsity Cuypp competition.

Tuks lost their unbeaten record when they were beaten by old foes Maties on Thursday while Wits, giving a good account of themselves and leading 11-7 at the break, lost the plot in the second half against CUT to lose 19-11

▲ What has happened to Wits, still winless after four rounds in this year’s Varsity Cup competition and now fighting to avoid being in the bottom two?

Last year, when the competition was shelved after the sixth round after to the Covid-19 outbreak, Wits were in third position after five matches following four wins and a draw and looking good for a play-off spot.

They had by then beaten UWC, Tuks, Pukke and UJ and drawn against Ikeys. They then had a healthy points difference of 40, had played a match less than second-placed Tukkies who had dropped two matches from six and were only two log points ahead of Wits.

Maties, who had won all five their 2020 matches, were three log points ahead of Wits, but the Johannesburg side was a factor.

But that was 2020. Before the 2021 competition, a cancelled practice game against the Lions before the Varsity Cup kick-off left the Witsies with little game time going into this year’s competition.

A valid excuse, yes. And yes, with five matches remaining, they conceivably can still make the play-off – but that would take a Herculean effort and some luck with the permutations of other results.

More importantly, though is that their forward dominance is far too often off-set by poor discipline with resultant penalties to the opposition.

If this ‘ailment’ can be cured, their remaining matches against the Madibaz, NWU Eagles (Pukke), UJ,  UWC  and Shimlas, could be won by the Milpark side.  They need four wwins and some bonus points to make the play-offs.

▲ Bloemfontein has seemingly been struggling to get both their Varsity Cup sides firing at the same time, and the Shimlas for the second successive year have leaked far too many points to win matches and be a factor in the competition.

It seems they have swapped places with the CUT Ixias, who are second on the log with four wins from their four matches and the top points difference of 84. Shimlas have not won a match yet and were thrashed by the 59-5 by log-leaders Ikeys on Thursday.

Last year Maties beat them 67-16 and they were also well-beaten (35-14) by their fellow-Bloemfontein side, and won only a single match from six, against UWC, whom they beat by a single point. It was their last match before the competition was called off.   

The results and scorers of Round 4 on Thursday –

NWU EAGLES 28 (13) UWC 15 (3)
NWU Eagles – Tries: Gustav du Rand, Jeandré Leonard, André Fouché, Charl Pretorius. Conversion: Keagan Fortune. Penalties: Fortune (2).

UWC – Try: Lundi Msenge (1x7). Conversion: Branden de Kock. Penalties: De Kock (2).

SHIMLAS 5 (5) IKEYS 59 (31)
Shimlas –
 Try: Cham Zondeki.

Ikeys – Tries: Connor Evans, Rethabile Louw (2x7), Athi Gazi (1x5, 1x7), Evardi Boshoff, David Hayes, Christian Stehlik. Conversions: James Tedder (2), Michael Brink (3). Penalty: Tedder.

WITS 11 (11) CUT IXIAS 19 (7)
Wits – Try: Justin Brandon. Penalties: Christian Humphries (2).
CUT Ixias –
 Tries: Janus Venter (2), Luvuyo Ndevu. Conversions: Charles Williams (2).

MADIBAZ 22 (5) UJ 33 (24)
Madibaz –
 Tries: Luyolo Dapula, Tiaan Swanepoel (1x7), Tembekile Boltina (2).

UJ – Tries: Brendon Pawson, Darnell Osuagwe, Lunga Ncube, Musawenkosi Tshabalala (1x7). Conversions: Jurich Claasens (4). Penalty: Claasens.

TUKS 24 (6) MATIES 31 (15)
Tuks – Tries: Hanru Sirgel, Johan Mulder. Conversion: Zander du Plessis. Penalties: Du Plessis (4).
Maties – Tries: Penalty try, Munier Hartzenberg, Bobby Alexander (1x7). Penalties: Schreuder (4).

Round 5 fixtures
The Varsity Cup will continue on Monday with two Round 5 matches at Tuks Stadium:

  • UCT Ikeys vs CUT Ixis (17:00)
  • UWC vs UP-Tuks (19:00)

The remaining three matches of the round will take place on Tuesday – Freedom Day – also at Tuks Stadium:

  • UJ vs UFS Shimlas (15:00)
  • Wits vs Madibaz (17:00)
  • Maties vs NWU Eagles (19:00)

All five matches will be broadcast live on the SuperSport Rugby channel (211).