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12 January 2019
The UWC community backs their boys

Image credit: Nashira Davids

(Published - 12 January 2019)

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) community turned up in their numbers to rally behind their rugby team in its first Varsity Cup home game.

FNB UWC took on FNB Shimlas from the the University of Free State yesterday.

Students, staff, alumni, local rugby fans and school pupils - some of whom came from as far as Vredendal on the West Coast - packed the UWC Sports Stadium to capacity to cheer for the boys during the action-packed encounter. The good turn out was a positive response to UWC Sport’s call for the University community and friends to be Player 16 and back the team.

It was the first home game for UWC in the Varsity Cup, and the University is the only previously disadvantaged institution to participate in South Africa’s premier university rugby competition.

Although FNB UWC, as the team is officially called, put on a spirited fight, it was the 2015 Varsity Cup champions who were victorious with a score of 47-25.

The game began at a fast pace with the visitors scoring their first try in the opening two minutes. The home side replied almost immediately when Lubelo Scott pushed through the opposition defence to give Clayton Daniels a small gap to dot down. Two penalties by Baby Springbok centre Lyle Hendricks gave UWC the lead, which was extended by Aidynn Cupido’s stunning 7-point try.

After the visitors scored three quick tries, last week's Steers Kinging Moment player Tristan Leyds’s brilliant footwork saw UWC’s Andre Manuel responding with a try of his own to reduce the deficit.

Despite starting their campaign in the Varsity Cup with two consecutive losses, UWC captain Adrian Paarwater believes there is still hope for his team, but said they have to work on their discipline. His teammates Reece Bocks and Justin Theys were sent to the Afkoelstoel (sin bin) just minutes apart. This meant the home side had to play with only 13 men for nearly five minutes, with the two players’ time penalties overlapping.

“We can’t play rugby with 13 or 14 guys at this level,” said Paarwater after the encounter. “It means six guys against eight guys, 16 feet against 12, and they put us under extreme pressure. Our poor discipline led to us conceding quick consecutive tries and we can’t continue doing that.”

UWC’s next assignment is away to FNB NWU in Potchefstroom, and the captain is hopeful that they can turn the tables around. “We can definitely save the Varsity Cup campaign. It is all about the mind-set. If you want it you can have it. Look at the first half - the score was 20-21.”