FNB UWC and FNB UFS Shimlas both went into the match sporting new coaches in Paul Treu (former Blitzboks coach) and Pote Human (former Bulls coach) yet nerves seemed to be settled as their experience shone through once the opening minutes worth of teething problems ticked past.
UDubs opened the scoring in the most blistering of fashions as outside centre Aydon Topley swooped in to score a try on debut which flyhalf Mikyle Vraagom converted with ease.
Their Bloemfontein counterparts managed to string a few phases together, which paid out in a try, only for the TMO to disallow it due to a foot in touch.
It became apparent after the first strategy break that FNB UWC were going to attack from everywhere and fullback Gilroy Philander (pictured below) capitalised on this mentality with two point-of-origin tries, including a spectacular dive over the whitewash to beat his defender by mere millimetres.
The 10 minutes before and after half-time showcased two scintillating tries, with Shimlas inside centre Janco Klinck bagging a point-of-origin try that saw the hands of several of his teammates before ending in his breadbasket, while UDubs took only four minutes post half-time to score their bonus-point try courtesy of wing Lundi Msenge.
A common thread throughout the match was large periods of both teams struggling to threaten the scoreboard as play was contained largely between the two red zones.
The final 20 minutes were dominated by FNB UFS Shimlas. Debutant Pierre Uys scored his second try before replacement loose forward George Rossouw's seven-pointer earned them a bonus point and levelled the scores.
Flyhalf Ethan Wentzel missed the conversion of Rossouw’s try and a late penalty goal attempt, while replacement JP Duvenage was also off-target for FNB UFS Shimlas as both teams had to settle for a draw.
FNB Player That Rocks: Gilroy Philander (FNB UWC)
FNB UWC 28 (23) – Tries: Aydon Topley, Gilroy Philander (2x7), Lundi Msenge. Conversions: Mikyle Vraagom (2).
UFS Shimlas 28 (14) – Tries: Pierre Uys (2), Janco Klinck (1x7), George Rossouw (1x7). Conversions: Ethan Wentzel (3).
Report courtesy varsitycup.co.za. Photographs: Christiaan Kotze/Catherine Kotze/FNB Varsity Cup
*UWC next face FNB Maties on Thursday, 8 April with kick-off set for 15:00.