Morgan Piek – The 2012 Rugby season officially kicked-off last night with the opening rounds of the Varsity Cup. The stand out match was the repeat of last year’s semi-final between the University of Cape Town and the University of the Free State.
It kicked-off in front of a very good crowd at the “Green Mile” in Cape Town. Before kick-off was a sense of excitement in air as many Ikey old boys made their way to the ground to watch their former Alma Mater take on the men from Bloemfontein. They included the likes of SuperSport presenter and commentator Matthew Pearce, former Springboks and presenters Hanyani Shimange and Gcobani Bobo.
UCT were heavily tipped as favourites to walk away as victors after eighty minutes.
Nick Holden got the 2012 campaign under way with a deep kick-off which Shimlas fielded deep in their own 22. From the outset the game was marred with handling errors that could be best described as “schoolboy errors”.
The Free Staters immediately showed signs of running the ball from all parts of the field. They were using their speedy backline to apply early pressure on the Ikeys. It paid off as early as the third minute when Kevin Luiters went over to score a well rounded off try in the left corner. Nico Scheepers converted.
The Ikeys showed visible signs of being rattled early in the game, and things got a lot worse before it got slightly better. The highly impressive hooker, PW van Vuuren went over for the visitors’ second try in the seventh minute. Nico Scheepers, again converted the try to hand the visitors a somewhat comfortable 16 – 0 before the first ten minute were up.
UCT struck back a few minutes later via their fullback Dillyn Leyds in the eleventh minute to restore a little pride. Nick Holden, however, was unable to add the extra three.
After the UCT try the game got somewhat. UCT had plenty of opportunities to score, but weren’t able to capitalise due to a huge defensive effort by the Free Staters. Handling errors were largely to blame as well, but I would put those down to pressure create by the strong defence.
A massive Shimlas pack, led by their colossal 135kg tighhead prop, Ian “Pottie” Potgieter, totally dominated the UCT scrum. Even in after the Shimlas lock, Joubert Horn, received his marching orders in the eighteenth minute due to and alleged “head-butt”, the Ikeys could not take control of the scrum. It was a bit of stupidity shown by Horn, but it was not an offence worthy of a yellow card. After all, the Cheetahs flanker and Shimlas captain Lappies Labuschagne got pulled down in the air from a kick-off earlier in the game. Referee Jason Jaftha didn’t even speak to the offender or warm the team.
There was only one more score in the first half when Nico Scheepers sent a penalty shot sailing through the uprights to add a further two points in the fifteenth minute. However, the Shimlas lineout continued to dominate throughout the game with Joubert Horn and JC Astle demonstrating outstanding skill at the set-piece.
Shimlas went in the half time break leading 18 – 5.
Early in the second half the Ikeys went over for a try, which was not awarded by the TMO JC Fortuin, due to a lack of evidence. In my opinion this call shook the Cape Town boytjies and started spelling the beginning of the end.
Apart from that early try call, it took sixteen minute for the game to get back into its swing. On the fifty-sixth minute Shimlas replacement scrumhalf, Pieter Rademan, broke the Ikey defence with a beautiful piece of vision and forward thinking to go over for the visitors’ third try. It was something that had been lacking at the base of the scrum up until that stage. Once again Nico Scheepers converted to take his tally to 4/4 for the evening.
The sixtieth minute saw Scheepers converted another penalty, 5/5 and thus taking the score to 28-5, effectively putting it beyond the reach of the home side. Four minute later, Scheepers made it 30-5 with another penalty.
UCT put up a brave fight in the last fifteen minute to see their skipper, Ntsolo Setlaba, score under the sticks in the seventy-third minute. Nick Holden hit the up-right from straight in front to leave the score at 30-10.
The Shimlas applied relentless pressure in the final five minutes in a quest to score a bonus point try. The persistence paid off in the eighty second minute when the Shimlas eightman, Fanie van der Walt, went over a very scrappy try. Once again it was converted by Scheepers who had a prefect day with the boot.
Jason Jaftha blew the final whistle with the score standing on 38-10 in favour of the Shimlas.
UCT will no doubt be focusing a lot on the ball skills department, as well as their discipline during the next seven days before their trip up to Johannesburg to face UJ on the 13th.
Shimlas can feel very proud of themselves for convincingly thumping the defending Champions on their home ground and thus recording their first ever Varsity Cup victory over the Ikeys Tigers. The Shimlas may just want to have a look at a few combinations and maybe consider replacing their starting scrumhalf with Rademan.
UCT 10 (5) vs UFS 38 (18)
Tries: Dillyn Leyds (11th minute), Ntsolo Setlaba (73rd minute).
Tries: Kevin Luiters (3rd minute), PW van Vuuren (7th minute), Pieter Rademan (56th minute), Fanie van der Walt (82nd minute).
Conversions: Nico Scheepers 4.
Penalties: Nico Scheepers 2.
Man of the Match: Pieter “Lappies” Labuschagne.
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