Defending champions FNB UCT Ikey Tigers lost to unbeaten hosts FNB UFS Shimlas 21-10 in their semifinal in Bloemfontein on Monday. The Bloem side will play and host their first-ever FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International final.
It was UFS-Shimlas’ first-ever home semifinal, and they proved too strong for the Cape side and continue their unbeaten run in this year’s competition.
The Shimlas side made a determined start to the game, forcing the Ikeys to defend from the outset, and the pressure eventually told when big No.8 Niell Jordaan forced his way over for the first try from close range.
The Tigers responded by charging into opposition territory, and openside flank Jason Klaasen crashed over from a driving maul to score the try which was confirmed by the TMO after UFS-Shimlas used their white card.
The Free State side hit back with a driving maul of their own, and flank Daniel Maartens peeled off the back for a try which put them 16-5 up once converted by flyhalf Niel Marais.
The defending champions kept themselves within range as hooker Chad Solomon showed good strength to brush off a few defenders for their second try which cut the deficit to 16-10 at half-time with just two conversions separating the teams. The kicks however were unconverted by Warren Seals who with 81 points was the leading point scorer in the competition ahead of kick off.
The visitors came out hard after the break and had a Richard Stweard try in the corner disallowed for a forward pass, and despite further opportunities for both teams neither could find a way through and UFS-Shimlas took their six-point lead into the second strategy break.
The home side struck a major blow when left wing Maphutha Dolo took a well-timed pass from scrumhalf Renier Botha to go over for their third try which put them in the driving seat with a 21-10 lead.
Things got even tougher for UCT when outside centre Lihleli Xoli was shown a yellow card, and although a late try from UFS-Shimlas wing Vuyani Maqina was disallowed the home side cruised to victory in the end.
Shimlas will host NWU Puk who beat table topping UP Tuks by 29:28 in Pretoria.
The Semi Final was the designated minimal goal for the Ikey Tigers and the team and management can hold their heads high after a strong campaign.
For FNB UFS-Shimlas:
Tries: Jordaan, Maartens, Dolo
Cons: Marais 2
For FNB UCT:
Tries: Klaasen, Solomon
FNB UFS-Shimlas: 15 AJ Coertzen (captain), 14 Vuyani Maqina, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Maphutha Dolo, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Renier Botha, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Gerhard Olivier, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Boela Venter, 4 Johan van der Hoogt, 3 Conraad Van Vuuren, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Elandre Hugget, 17 Theunis Nieuwoudt, 18 De Wet Kruger, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Nhlanhla Hlongwane, 21 JP Coetzee, 22 Refuoe Rampete, 23 Dolph Botha.
FNB UCT: 15 Khanyo Ngcukana, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Lihleli Xoli, 12 Guy Schwikkard, 11 Dylan Sage, 10 Warren Seals, 9 Ryan Dugmore, 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Luke Stringer, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Mark Prior, 3 Kyle Whyte, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Joel Carew.
Replacements: 16 Msizi Zondi, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Jade Kriel, 19 Tinotenda Zakeyo, 20 Stephen Wallace, 21 Nicholas Holton, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 David Maasch.
Referees: Lesego Legoete, Jaco Pretorius
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: JJ Wagner