The crowd came out in numbers to witness this year’s Varsity Shield final at the UWC Sports Grounds in Bellville, Cape Town as their team powered past FNB UFH 45-2 to claim the 2017 Varsity Shield title.
On a warm evening in Cape Town it was the home team who took the lead in the first minute through centre Michaine Fick after great play on the wing. Not long after, Herschel Jantjies added a second in the ninth minute to give his side an early 13-0 lead after the second try was converted by Aidynn Cupido. The home side kept piling on the pressure and came close to adding another try when Andre Manuel was tackled just a few metres shy of the tryline.
FNB UWC were strong in defence and the visitors struggled to threaten their opponents’ tryline. The frustration surfaced when the two teams were involved a miniature bust-up in the middle of the park but no player was sent off as the referee did not deem it a malicious brawl. The contest took another turn in favour of the home side when Herschel Jantjies sold a dummy to dot the ball right under the posts after a strong scrum from his team. FNB UFH added pressure on the buzzer but a strong defence from FNB UWC saw them hold on to their 13-0 lead going into the break.
The half time team talk must have been a stern one as FNB UFH got their first points just a minute into the half. Flyhalf Sergio Christian got his team’s scoreboard ticking when he scored a penalty. The try seemed to recharge the FNB UWC mission as the boys from Cape Town hit back through a try from substitute Ishmaeel Schroder to extend their lead to 29-2.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors as Luyolo Batshise was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle. FNB UWC took immediate advantage of their numerical superiority as Ishmaeel Schroeder got his second try of the match to add to the woes of FNB UFH. Aidynn Cupido had his scoring boots on as he converted yet another try to propel his side to a 37-2 lead after 59 minutes. It did not end there as Andre Manuel scored final-clinching try much to the delight of the home fans. Cupido converted the try that handed FNB UWC their first-ever Varsity Shield title and also claiming the record for the highest-ever winning margin in the competition.
FNB Player That Rocks: Herschel Jantjies (FNB UWC)
FNB UWC 45. Tries: Michaine Fick, Herschel Jantjies (2), Ishmaeel Schroeder (2), Andre Manuel. Conversions: Aidynn Cupido (5)
FNB UFH 2. Penalty: Sergio Christian
FNB UWC: 1 Mzo Buthelezi, 2 Ralph Jansen, 3 Justin Theys, 4 Brandon Valentyn, 5 Curtly Thomas, 6 Dean van Tonder, 7 Shaine Orderson, 8 Adrian Paarwater, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 10 Aidynn Cupido, 11 Andre Manuel, 12 Hendrick Carstens, 13 Michaine Fick, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 15 Daniel Bock. Replacements: 16 Ishmaeel Schroder, 17 Nathan Cloete, 18 Matthew le Roux, 19 Alwyn Carstens, 20 Clayton Daniels, 21 Rodrick Moses, 22 Keagan Fortuin, 23 Bradly Jumaats
FNB UFH: 1 Lixhanti Tame, 2 Daniel Caku, 3 Bulelani Mdodana, 4 Athenkosi Makelani, 5 Philisani Ncoko, 6 Zanoxolo Qwele, 7 Nkosinathi Njenje, 8 Sibusiso Sityebi, 9 Qhama Masiza, 10 Sergio Christian, 11 Louis Bowers, 12 Xolela Daniels, 13 Somila Jho, 14 Zayne Farmers, 15 siphuxolo Zaula. Replacements: Litha Magocoba, 17 Asiphe Fanele, 18 Siphosethu Tsotsa, 19 Lukho Jongizulu, 20 Lindokuhle Kenene, 21 Luyolo Batshise, 22 Vukile Novuka, 23 Sivuyile Mdishwa