UWC down but not out
Despite putting up a brave performance, FNB UWC narrowly lost 31-34 to the TUT Vikings in an entertaining and tightly-contested Varsity Shield encounter at UWC Sports Stadium on Monday, 3 February 2012.
The loss, however, has not had much effect as Peter de Villiers’ men are still on top of the log standings, level with TUT on five points and with one bonus point apiece but with a superior points difference.
In front of a huge and vociferous crowd, the game was physical from the word go and tensions led to a brawl that resulted in UWC lock Pallo Manuel and his TUT counterpart Izak Deetlefs being sent to the sin bin.
Shortly afterwards it was action-packed all the way with UWC fullback James Verity-Amm scoring his second try of the competition (he also scored in the 26-8 away win against FNB Fort Hare a week before) and captain Freddie Muller making the conversion.
UWC flyhalf Dale van Schalkyk added another try just after the strategy break with Muller converting to extend the lead to 16-0. But the visitors hit back when flank Pieter Matthews touched down with Morne Hugo converting to half the lead.
That did not last long as UWC’s Njabulo Ndlovu grabbed his side’s third try, but the often accurate Muller missed the conversion. Just before the break, the Tshwane-based Vikings scored through replacement hooker Hamish Herd and Hugo made no mistake to cut the lead to 21-16.
After the halftime break the visitors took the game to UWC and flank Jean Maritz dotted down and Hugo converted the try to take the Vikings into the 24-21 lead. Muller elected to shoot a goal in order to close the gap and made the score 24-23 but Hugo added a penalty of his own to make it 26-23 to the visitors instead.
Mandla Mdaka then stretched the visitors lead when he crashed over with Hugo converting to make the score 34-23. UWC fought back to score their bonus point try through Kenwinn Wiener and Muller once again converted to make it 31-34. The home side charged forward to salvage the match in the dying minutes but it was not to be. Now UWC have a tough assignment away to champions CUT IXIAS on Monday, 10 February.