Shimlas stumble again in Varsity Cup

Jooste Nel of the UFS Shimlas, scoring the second of his two tries, was one of the few highlights for the home team in their intervarsity clash against their old rivals, NWU Eagles. PHOTO: ASEM ENGAGE/ HANNES NAUDE

The University of the Free State Shimlas suffered their second defeat in a row in the Varsity Cup on Monday evening when they went down 32-22 to the North West University Eagles at Shimla Park in Bloemfontein.

The team from Potchefstroom outmuscled the Shimlas upfront, while they were a little more clinical in their execution to claim the bragging rights in the traditional intervarsity.
The defeat on Monday evening is certainly a setback for the Shimlas, but there is no need to panic yet. It means that the Shimlas have dropped to third on the standings after being the log-leaders for the first four rounds. The University of Cape Town Ikeys and the University of Stellenbosch Maties have leapfrogged the Shimlas into the number one and two spots.

While the Shimlas showed promise at stages on Monday evening, their discipline let them down as they were issued two yellow cards and a red card in vital stages of the game, or as they were getting their fightback attempt in motion.

Shimlas captain Thabang Mahlasi told Bloemfontein Courant that they will carry on with the fight, but they will need to address their discipline.

“The discipline did kind of let us down,” said the energetic second-rower.

“Especially as I felt we were reaching a turning point in the game where we were actually starting to take control of the match.

“It’s part of the game and these things happen, I guess. It’s just something that we will have to work on harder during the week in preparation for the next game. The competition is still very long and there are still a couple of games to be played before the playoffs.

“We just need to make the most of it and get back to our systems as soon as possible and execute clinically. The red card was very unfortunate, but there is only so much the players can do.”

On Monday night the Shimlas will host the Ikeys in Bloemfontein and it is an ideal opportunity to return to their winning ways.

Meanwhile, the Central University of Technology Ixias’ torrid time in the competition continued as they were beaten 52-19 by the Maties at home. It does not get easier for the Ixias with the team having to travel to Pretoria to face defending champions Tuks on Monday. – MORGAN PIEK