(Published - 11 February 2020}
UWC showed their intentions early with exciting running rugby, despite the cloudy conditions and wet surface. Both teams had opportunities to run the ball early on but lost ball possession due to bad ball retention, emanating from handling errors in the first 20 minutes. As a result, the game struggled to gain momentum.
Finally, in the 23rd minute, Shimlas won a line-out and mauled strongly to put hooker Willem 'Wian' Marais over the try line with a five-pointer. Flyhalf JP Duvenage converted the try to put hosts 7-0 up. UWC responded with consistent pressure, pinning Shimlas in their own half. Following the awarding of several penalties, a penalty try was awarded in the 32nd minute. Shimlas' winger Janco van Heyningen was guilty of foul play and earned a visit to the Afkoelstoel while Keagan Fortune converted to level the scores at 7-7. Shimlas reacted with a try in the 35th minute with an excellent run by their other winger Marthinus Boshoff, and Duvenage converted to put the Shimlas in the lead 14-7 to end the first half.
FNB Shimlas had a great opportunity to increase the lead in the 50th minute with huge overlap but outside centre Keegan Haman tried to break the defence line, only to lose the ball in the tackle. Van Heyningen then made up for his earlier transgression to score a brilliant point-of-origin try – Duvenage put him away with a brilliant kick but could not convert the try. UWC then responded with a 7-pointer of their own, via fullback Gilroy Philander who kicked a loose ball through to cross the try line converted by Fortune to take the score to 21-16.
Shimlas, though, were not done yet and – after a maul – sent MJ Rossouw over for another 7-pointer which Duvenage again could not convert – leaving the score at 28-16 in their favour with 20 minutes left. FNB UWC answered with a penalty by Fortune to narrow the score to 28-19. UWC then kept their momentum and after consecutive attacks by Fortune scored a 7 pointer but could not convert his own try to take the score to 28-26 with 14 minutes left.
UWC, though, pressured Shimlas into their own half and a penalty was awarded which Fortune made no mistake with to claim the lead 29-28 for the first time in the game. Shimlas' ill-discipline, two yellow cards, bad ball retention and lost opportunities cost them a vital home game.*This article first appeared on the Varsity Cup website https://www.varsitycup.co.za/news/fnb-uwc-conquer-fnb-shimlas-their-own-backyard