Shimlas beat UJ ahead of Bloem derby

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The Shimlas celebrate their hard-fought victory against UJ ahead of next week's all-important Bloemfontein derby against the CUT Ixias PHOTO: HANNES NAUDE

The University of the Free State Shimlas returned to winning ways in the Varsity Cup on Monday night, albeit by the skin of their teeth, as they edged a determined University of Johannesburg 31-30 in Bloemfontein.This despite the city-wide blackout that struck Bloemfontein a mere 19 minutes into the first half with the Shimlas leading the game 16-14 at that stage.

Luckily there were generators in place, but it meant a short break in order for the floodlights to warm-up and function.

The hooker, William Moffat, flyhalf Litha Nkula, winger Siviwe Zondani all scored for the Shimlas in the first half for the hosts to lead 23-14 at half time.

The flanker, Christiaan Pretorius dotted down twice for the visitors in the first half.
Zondani completed his brace for the Shimlas in the second half while Nkula added a vital penalty.

Tries by Prince Nkabinde and Kelvin Kanenungo made it a one-point game with five minutes to go and this fired up the Orange Army.

UJ had a five-metre lineout from a penalty after the hooter, and as they were trying to work their way over the tryline, they conceded a penalty for holding onto the ball on the ground.

Shimlas hoofed the ball into touch to bring an end to the thriller at Shimla Park.
The win took the Shimlas up to fifth in the standings and kept their chances of reaching the semi-finals alive.

Over in Potchefstroom the North West University Eagles were too strong for the Central University of Technology Ixias.

The Eagles beat CUT 45-28 and this saw them retain their lead at the top of the log. The Ixias in turn dropped from second to fourth.

This all builds up to what is going to be a massive Bloemfontein derby on Monday night when the Shimlas host the Ixias. The team that wins at Shimla Park will almost certainly secure their place in the last four.

The derby will have some extra spice with the Bester brothers, Zane (Shimlas) and Zachary (Ixias) squaring off against each. The centres played together at school for Hoërskool Jim Fouché, while they also coach the respective U15A and U16A teams of their alma mater.
Monday night’s big Varsity Cup derby at Shimla Park kicks off at 19:00. – MORGAN PIEK