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Shimlas break Ikey hearts

Shimlas are the 2024 FNB Varsity Cup champions. This after snatching the win in an epic final at Shimla Park on the stroke of full-time thanks to an Ethan Wentzel penalty, giving UFS their first title since 2015.

The final score was 45-42 to Shimlas.

Scrumhalf Jandré Nel was named the FNB Player That Rocks, and judging by his face after the game, it truly was a matter of blood, sweat and tears that brought the Bloem team to this fantastic moment.

The Ikeys got off to a fast start via thrilling tries from hooker Keagan Blanckenberg and centre Jonathan Roche, both converted by the man deservedly named the player of the tournament, Ntokozo Makhaza. Nel struck back for the Shimlas with his first try, before hooker Liyema Mgwigwi got in on the action for the hosts.

It was a frenetic start that was always going to take it’s toll on the players, and come the last 20 minutes, players from both sides were seen cramping all over the field.

Rethabile Louw snatched joy from despair via an 85m intercept try, and this was followed by a Duran Koevort try for the ages, as the Ikeys rounded the home side defence in style. The momentum was with the blue and white …

Wentzel had other plans, though, and he then scored for the hosts, before Mgwigwi completed his brace on the stroke of half-time. The Ikeys had their noses in front 31-26 at half time, and the scene was set for a classic.

A defining moment in the game was Nel’s second try early in the second half, which was later upgraded to a point-of-origin try. The home side went big on the celebrations, though, meaning Wentzel’s conversion from close to the touchline, was deleted because he exceeded the timer on the shot clock. The home side nearly paid very dearly for this …

Siviwe Zondani then scored for the home team, before replacement prop Bryan le Roux levelled matters for the Ikeys. Makhaza missed the conversion.

With the game level at 42-42 it was heading to extra time, but a minute after the hooter had gone Shimlas were awarded a penalty. It was not a simple kick, but Wentzel showed massive BMT to split the uprights, and hand his team victory.

SCORERS:

FNB Shimlas 45 (26) – Tries: Jandre Nel (2), Liyema Mgwigwi (2), Ethan Wentzel, Siviwe Zondani. Conversions: Ethan Wentzel (4). Penalties: Wentzel.

FNB Ikeys 42 (31) – Tries: Keagan Blanckenberg, Jonathan Roche, Rethabile Louw, Duran Koevort, Bryan le Roux. Conversions: Ntokozo Makhaza (3). Penalties: Makhaza (3).

FNB Player That Rocks: Jandre Nel (Shimlas)

TEAMS

Ikeys: Luthando Woji, Keagan Blanckenberg, JK Okonkwo, Reynhardt Crous, Johan Van Rhyn, Sipho Dyonase, Taariq Kruger, Laro Delport, Asad Moos, Alex Vermeulen, Ntokozo Makhaza, Jonathan Roche, Josh Boulle, Rethabile Louw, Duran Koevort.

Shimlas: Ntokozo Hlophe, Liyema Mgwigwi, Francisco Dos Reis, Reinier Juan Martin Viljoen, John Raymond Stopforth, Sobe Siyambuka Nakhane Ningiza, Pierre-Raymond Freddie Uys, Kwezi Dlamini, Jandre Nel, Ethan SJ Wentzel, Asanda Sihle Kunene, Zane Bester, Nkoka Sydney Luvuyo Ngobe, Siviwe Zondani, Michael Jnr Kurt Annies.

FNB TOURNAMENT AWARDS:

Player That Rocks: Ntokozo Makhaza (Ikeys)

Forward That Rocks: Enos Ndiao (Ikeys)

Back That Rocks: Matthew Fortuin (Eagles)

Suzuki Rookie of The Year: Likhona Finca (UJ)

Pictures by Hannes Naude of Asem Engage

Classy Ikeys slide into VC final

The 2024 FNB Varsity Cup will be decided at Shimla Park Bloemfontein on Monday 22 April (kick-off at 19h00), where the UFS Shimlas will host the UCT Ikey Tigers.

This after the men in Blue and White produced a sensational performance to beat defending champions, NWU, in their semi-final in Potch, and Shimlas out-classed Maties on their home patch.

Come the final whistle, it was actually a convincing and classy 32-18 win for the Ikeys against an Eagles side that just did not have enough in the attacking armoury to subdue a defensive system that is without doubt the best in the comp.

Ikeys began the game in a dominant fashion with left wing Ntokozo Makhaza landing a penalty in the first five minutes. A drop goal by the Eagles’ Zinedine Robinson evened things up, before Makhaza slotted a second penalty to restore the lead for the visitors.

Tian Van Zyl scored the first try of the game to give the Eagles the lead for the first time in the game. Fullback Duran Koevort then responded for the Ikeys with a try, before another Makhaza penalty handed UCT a 14-8 lead at half-time.

This penalty took Makhaza’s points haul in the Varsity Cup to over 250, making him the all-time highest points scorer in the tournament. The man has been beyond impressive for the Ikey Tigers, and it has to be a matter of time before he is snapped up by a pro team.

The visitors began the second period in the same manner with Koevort’s second try – rounding off a sweeping passage of play started by a superb interception by Rethabile Louw – and yet another penalty by Makhaza.

Mpho Kubheka reduced the deficit via a try for NWU moments after coming on, and it looked like the momentum might just be swinging the way of the hosts …

But another brilliant run by Louw saw him getting the ball to replacement lock/flank Mika Schubert, who scored in the corner for Ikeys.

Calvin Clark scored a try in the dying minutes of the game for the Eagles but it was too late as yet another penalty by Makhaza sealed an emphatic victory for UCT.

In the curtain raiser, it was the home side who edged an incredibly plucky UCT U20 Cubs side 27-25 to go through to the Young Guns final next week.

SCORERS:

UCT Ikeys 32 (14) – Tries: Duran Koevort (2), Mika Schubert. Penalties: Ntokozo Makhaza (5).

NWU Eagles 18 (8) – Tries: Tian van Zyl, Mpho Kubheka, Calvin Clack. Drop Goal: Zinedine Robinson.

FNB Player that Rocks: Reynhardt Crous

TEAMS:

FNB UCT Ikeys: Luthando Woji, Keagan Blanckenberg, JK Okonkwo, Reynhardt Crous, Johan Van Rhyn, Sipho Dyonase, Taariq Kruger, Laro Delport, Asad Moos, Alex Vermeulen, Ntokozo Makhaza, Jonathan Roche, Josh Boulle, Rethabile Louw, Duran Koevort.

FNB NWU Eagles: Matome Molebogeng Manyama, Chyle Van Zyl, Ntobeko Thabiso Shezi, Stephan Krugel, Franco Marais, Hennie Du Randt, Tian Van Zyl, Marvelous Mashimbyi, Aphelele Emihle Madaka, Zinedine Robinson, Naiden Jaarts, Arnoldus Christiaan Vlok, Matthew Luke Fortuin, Joubert Schoeman, Luan Jacobus Van Der Walt.

A few snaps from the game:


Photos by: Tian du Preez/VARSITY SPORTS

Eagles edge Ikeys, secure home semi

The NWU Eagles secured a home semi-final following a hard-fought 30-18 victory over the Ikeys from UCT at the Fanie du Toit Sports Ground in Potchefstroom.

The result will see NWU host UCT next Monday in a repeat of last night’s final league game, while fellow Capetownians, Maties from Stellenbosch, will at home against the Free State Shimlas.

The burly and physical Eagles started the game strongly with a try from Hennie du Randt following a brilliant run by Naiden Jaarts. Ikeys were quick to respond via a try from Ntokozo Makhaza, who could not convert. It didn’t take long for the home side to extend their lead, Luan Van Der Walt scoring a try from close range following long periods of possession and phase play.

The visitors were happy to take the points on offer, with left wing Ntokozo Makhaza, the first ever player to score 100 points or more in 2 Varsity Cup campaigns, taking the score to 16-13. But it was a try from Chyle Van Zyl that gave the Eagles a 21-13 lead at half-time.

The Ikeys held strong in the second half, dominating both territory and possession, with replacement hooker Johan Lombard giving the Ikeys some hope via a powerful maul try. It was a nervy end to the game, but a try from Naiden Jaarts sealed the victory for the Eagles to finish top of the log.

The visitors from Cape Town would have taken plenty of positives out of the game, though, and if able to live with the home side’s obvious physicality, they definitely have a chance of upsetting the applecart next week at the same venue. The game again kicks off at 19h00.

The Ikeys U20 Cubs, by chance, will also be playing at the Fanie du Toit, taking on NWU in their Young Guns semi final at 16h30. This after hammering Wits 50-0 in the messy Cape Town weather on Monday afternoon to secure their berth in the semis.

SCORERS:

NWU Eagles 30 (21) – Tries: Hennie du Randt, Naiden Jaarts, Luan Van Der Walt, Chyle Van Zyl. Conversions: Zinedine Robinson (2), Charles Williams.

UCT Ikeys 18 (13) – Tries: Ntokozo Makhaza, Johan Lombard. Conversion: Ntokoza Makhaza. Penalties: Ntokozo Makhaza (2).

FNB Player That Rocks: Hennie du Randt

TEAMS

FNB UCT Ikeys: Mhleli Khuzwayo, Keagan Blanckenberg, Jovan Bekker, Enos Ndiao, Johan van Rhyn, Sipho Dyonase, Mika Schubert, Laro Delport, Asad Moos, Alex Vermeulen, Ntokozo Makhaza, Rethabile Louw, Thomas Nel, Luke Burger, Duran Koevort.

FNB NWU Eagles: Matome Molebogeng Manyama, Chyle Van Zyl, Ntobeko Thabiso Shezi, Stephan Krugel, Franco Marais, Hennie Du Randt, Tian Van Zyl, Marvelous Mashimbyi, Aphelele Emihle Madaka, Zinedine Robinson, Naiden Jaarts, Arnoldus Christiaan Vlok, Matthew Luke Fortuin, Keano Ricardo Windvogel, Luan Jacobus Van Der Walt.

A few pics from the game:

Photos by Tian du Preez of ASEM ENGAGE / VARSITY SPORTS

Ikeys on fire, Makhaza sets record

The Chester Williams Memorial Trophy will remain on the Green Mile for another year after a dominant display saw the Ikeys beat UWC 91-9 at their Sports Stadium.

In the process, points scoring machine, wing Ntokozo Makhaza became the highest scoring Ikey player in the FNB Varsity Cup, surpassing Matthew Rosslee’s previous record. Makhaza has now scored 223 points in the tournament.

In perfect conditions in Bellville, the blue and white hoops brought the heat, running in 13 tries to 1, thoroughly outplayed Udubs in their backyard.

Ntokozo Makhaza kept the scoreboard ticking over with his accuracy off the tee, and made telling runs that got the visitors over the advantage line at regular intervals.

The Ikey set piece was also purring on the night, setting up attacking forays from every part of the ground, and putting pay to anything UWC tried to get going.

As such, the home side enjoyed very little ball, and made errors when they did try carry.

By half-time, UCT were already 0-33 up, with the game over as a contest.

Things got worse for the home side in the second half. Powerful wing, Luke Burger, named Player That Rocks, first completed his hat-trick, then added a fourth.

UCT will enjoy their Easter break before heading to Potch to play for a home semi-final against the log leaders, Pukke. UWC, sadly, will be pondering life in the Shield.

SCORERS:

Ikeys 91 (33) – Tries: Josh Miller (2), Luke Burger (4), Keagan Blanckenberg (2), Mika Schubert (2), Ntokozo Makhaza, Tian Vorster, Alex Vermeulen. Conversions: Makhaza (5), Vermeulen (3).

UWC 9 (0) – Try: Hlomla Ncana. Conversion: Aaron Swartz.

FNB Player That Rocks: Luke Burger (FNB UCT)

FNB UCT: Mhleli Khuzwayo, Keagan Blanckenberg, Jovan Bekker, Reynhardt Crous, Mika Schubert, Siphumezo Dyonase, Taariq Kruger, Wandile Mlaba, Josh Miller, Alex Vermeulen, Ntokozo Makhaza, Jonathan Roche, Josh Boulle, Luke Burger, Duran Koevort.

FNB UWC: Hlonela Qelile, Ruben Swanepoel, Franco Ceasar, Alexander-Jaco van der Merwe, Carel van der Merwe, Almore Kuilders, Melumzi Mandongana, Zinzan Magerman, Wian van der Sandt, Aaron Swartz, Hlomla Ncana, Bryan Breda, Denver Van Wyk, Bevan Simons, Jean van Schalkwyk.

A few snaps from the game:

Photos by Nasief Manie of ASEM Engage/Varsity Cup

Stalemate in Jozi

After both U20 sides had played to a 32 all draw earlier in the day, FNB Wits fought back superbly in the second half of the 1st XV game to burgle a 33-33 draw against visitors, the FNB UCT Ikeys, at the Wits Stadium on Monday evening.

It took a last-minute try and conversion for hosts to avoid defeat in a game in which they enjoyed the better of in the territory and possession battle.

Ikeys were quickest out of the blocks via a Ntokozo Makhaza penalty inside the first two minutes. The in-form winger was back in the thick of things with a dazzling run that eventually saw him offloading to scrumhalf Riaan Genis, who neatly finished under the poles. Makhaza stepped up to convert, taking the visitors out to an early 12-0 lead.

Wits eventually got on the scoreboard in the 20th minute, after camping in the UCT 22. Scrumhalf Wernich Aucamp managed to pick up and score from close range, with Tireque Apolles converting, taking the score to 7-12. The on-form visitors ran in a further two tries in the first half, while the hosts could only manage a penalty. 28-10 to the Ikeys as the boys hit the sheds

The second half saw Wits showing a lot more grit and determination, but the Ikeys still got over for a close quarters try through loosehead prop Mhleli Khuzwayo. Wits got in for two tries of their own, courtesy of Setshaba Mokoena and George Devenish, before replacement prop Ronan Dutton’s last second effort and Apolles’ conversion gave them a share of the spoils.

SCORERS:

FNB Wits 33 (10) – Tries: Wernich Aucamp, Setshaba Mokoena, George Devenish, Ronan Dutton. Conversions: Tireque Apolles (4). Penalties: Tireque Apolles.

FNB UCT 33 (28) – Tries: Riaan Genis (2), Duran Koevort, Mhleli Khuzwayo, Conversions: Ntokoza Makhaza (2). Penalty: Ntokozo Makhaza.

FNB Player That Rocks: Jonathan Roche

Wits: Jason Cloete, Dewet Lottering, Sibusiso Shongwe, Armin Durandt Weideman, George Lawson St Leger Devenish, Kelvin Kanenungo, Thandolwethu Biyela, Lindokuhle Ncusane, Wernich Aucamp, Tireque Apolles, Lindani Dweba, Caleb Lombard, Liyema Matyolweni, Dustyn Matthew Holmes, Setshaba Mohlakoane Mokoena.

Ikeys: Mhleli Khuzwayo, Keagan Blanckenberg, John Kelly Okonkwo, Enos Ndiao, Johan van Rhyn, Sipho Dyonase, Laro Delport, Reynhardt Crous, Riaan Genis, Alexander Vermeulen, Ntokozo Makhaza, Jonathan Roche, Joshua Boulle, Lezane George Davis, Duran Koevort.

A few snaps from the game:

PHOTOS BY CATHERINE KOTZE OF ASEM ENGAGE/VARSITY SPORTS