The 2017 Varsity Cup kicked off on Monday and after 10 years the tournament still showcases thrilling and exciting rugby.
The quality of the rugby delivered during the first round was of such quality that it left the former Springbok and Western Province great, Rob Louw, singing the praises of South African talent via the social media platform, Twitter.
During the University of the Witwatersrand match against the University of the Free State Shimlas, which was also the opening match of the tournament, Louw tweeted “Watching @varsitycup Wits versus Shimlas! What talent we have in SA and, contrary to what’s been said, great skills!”
In wet conditions the lighter Shimlas pack survived the onslaught by their much bigger opponents to grind to a well-deserved and hard fought 26-21 victory in Johannesburg.
Marco Mason, Dian Badenhost, Niel Stannard and Francois Steyn all scored tries for Shimlas for a bonus point victory, seeing them second in the standings.
The teams’ coach, the former Cheetahs and Springbok flank, Hendro Scholtz, told Courant that he is pround of the dog his team showed to beat their impressive opponents.
“I’m very happy with the win, especially with it being an away win. The guys showed great fight and obviously the wet underfoot conditions suited their much bigger pack, but we showed a lot of fight and guts to pull it back at the end. I’m very proud of the boys.”
The next week Shimlas have another away match in Johannesburg, but this time they will tackle the University of Johannesburg (UJ), who in their turn lost at home to the defending champions, the North West University Pukke.
Pukke came from behind to earn a solid 16-12 win over UJ in a match which was played in similar conditions as the one between Wits and Shimlas.
The Central University of Technology Ixias enjoyed a first round by and will open their campaign against University of Cape Town Ikeys in the Mother City next week.
1st Round results – Wits 21 vs. UFS Shimlas 26; UP Tuks 13 vs. Maties 9; UCT Ikeys 8 vs. NMMU Madibaz 36; UJ 12 vs. NWU Pukke 16.
2nd Round Fixtures –16:00 UCT Ikeys vs. CUT Ixias – Cape Town (TV); 18:30 UJ vs. UFS Shimlas – Johannesburg; 18:30 Maties vs. Wits – Stellenbosch; 19:00 NWU Pukke vs. NMMU Madibaz – Potchefstroom (TV). – MORGAN PIEK