Varsity Shield 2018: Triumphant UWC rugby team marches on to the final - again
UWC rugby team, aka FNB UWC, has emphasised their dominance of the Varsity Shield 2018 competition once again, trouncing Tshwane University of Technology (FNB TUT) 66-7 on Monday 26 March to reach the final of the competition.
On a nippy evening at home, UWC showed why they were the only unbeaten side in the Varsity Shield this season, by dominating both possession and territory with their running brand of rugby.
The reigning champions wasted no time showing their might, scoring four tries through Mujaahid Van Der Hoven (2), Jacque Van Zyl and Tristan Leyds, with four conversations by Lyle Hendricks bringing them a comfortable 32-0 lead at half time. Van Der Hoven completed his hat-trick when he added one more try in the second stanza, with Adrian Paarwater, substitute Keagan Fortune and Lubelo Scott also dotting down.
The resounding victory marks the third consecutive year the UWC side has reached the final of the competition, and the University’s fourth final since the competition was established in 2011.
Udubs won the title for the first time last year after they lost in the final to Wits University a year before. And after finishing top of the competition’s log standing to secure an automatic promotion to the Varsity Cup for the first time, Udubs are the favourites to successfully defend their title when they lock horns with Walter Sisulu University (FNB WSU) at home on 9 April 2018.
WSU were the first victims of UWC’s relentless campaign, going down 42-2 on 19 February, also at UWC Sports Stadium. But despite FNB UWC’s unbeaten run and competition dominance, the team will not take their foot off the pedal in the final, according to assistant coach - and former Springbok star - Bolla Conradie.
“Knockout games like the semi-finals and the finals are always tough,” he said. “Even though we beat WSU in the first game we cannot take them lightly. We still going to play our running brand of rugby, and score as much as we can.”
Conradie attributed the team’s success in the past three years to hard work and team spirit.
“Since October the players have been working very hard to take the University to where it is now. The promotion to the Varsity Cup to play against the top universities in the country is a massive step for UWC - and we are all very proud about that achievement.”
He called on the University community - and all fans of good rugby - to come out to watch the final on 9 April at the UWC Sports Stadium, and witness a clash of champions.
“Come out and fill the stadium, and you will enjoy nice running rugby.”