The University of the Western Cape (UWC) rugby team have been crowned as FNB Varsity Shield champions for the first time, after an epic final against the University of Fort Hare (UFH) at UWC Sports Stadium on Monday, 10 April 2017.
The Bellville-based outfit were crowned Shield champions on home soil in extraordinary fashion - scoring six tries and finishing the match 45-2 over Fort Hare.
Two tries each from Herschel Jantjies and Ishmael Schroeder, as well as one apiece by Michaine Fick and Andre Manuel, and five conversions by Aidynn Cupido ensured that the home side emerged victorious on this historic evening.
Not only did this victory earn them automatic promotion to the FNB Varsity Cup, but it was the perfect way to cap off the tournament. Under the coaching of 1995 Rugby World Cup winner Chester Williams who assisted by fellow Springbok from Bellville, Bolla Conradie, the UWC Rugby team has been in fine form this season, having lost just one game in a round robin fixture - by a single point - and that against the UFH team.
In front of a capacity-full crowd at the UWC stadium, the home side displayed running rugby, dominating possession, territory and game play. FNB UWC were strong in defence and the visitors struggled to threaten their opponents’ try-line - boasting with a strong display of backline strength. And UFH had no defence against man of the match (FNB Player that Rocks) scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies - who created many opportunities through his runs.
In the second half, UFH came out guns blazing and managed to put a few points on the scoreboard. But they could not maintain their momentum - especially as Luyolo Batshise was sent to the sin bin for dangerous play - and UWC took advantage and extended their lead to 37-2 after 59 min.
UWC’s Andre Manuel scored the final try, with Aidynn Cupido converting, and that was that: the University had clinched its first ever varsity Shield title, and also claimed the record for the highest-ever margin in the competition.
Some notable performances...
FNB Player that Rocks: Herschel Jantjies (UWC)
FNB Forward of the Tournament: Zanoxolo Qwele (UFH)
FNB Back of the Tournament: Kurt-Lee Arendse (UWC)