Shimlas recorded their first ever Varsity Cup victory over UCT, with the men from Bloemfontein deservedly beating the defending champions by 38-10 at the Green Mile on Monday.
It was such a contradictory opening game in the 2012 Varsity Cup.
Take away the last few minutes when they were dispirited and you would have sworn that UCT were the better side. Why they gave that impression is not altogether clear, as the Shimlas were better in line-outs, scrums and breakdowns and they handled far better.
And yet, UCT were the ones who had the better chances to win but found themselves trailing further and further behind…
Handling was crucial. They bashed for the line, the Shimlas tackled and UCT lost the ball. The Ikeys knocked on 20 times in the match. Twice they knocked forward in the act of scoring. Once their scrumhalf knocked on the most sympathetic of passes with the empty goalline 15 metres away. And once they lost out to a strange bit of TMO-ing.
It was hot up at UCT and for a change windless.
From the start UCT, the reigning champions, attacked with quick ball from tackles but from a line-out in their own half the Shimlas went left. Burly right wing Nico Scheepers burst through the middle and sent left wing Robbie van Schalkwyk racing away. Just inside the Ikey 22, a tackle/ruck formed and livewire scrumhalf Kevin Luiters snapped up the ball and broke down the vacant blindside for a try. Scheepers converted. 8-0.
In the 2012 Varsity Cup there are three points for a conversion, two for penalties and drops. It perhaps explains why the Ikeys ignored numerous chances to kick penalties at goal. The Shimlas had no such prodigality and Scheepers – who did not miss a shot at goal – kicked three in the match.
A line-out set up the next Shimlas try scored this time by strong hooker PW van Vuuren. That made it 16-0 sand perhaps convinced the Ikeys that they had to score tries.
They got one from a five-metre scrum when they went 8-9-15, Greg Mallett – Nick Farrar – Dillyn Leyds who scored. 16-5 after 12 minutes. It took the Ikeys 50 minutes to score their next try.
The half-time score was 18-5.
Ikeys started the second half with some effective pick-‘n-drive and then flyhalf Nick Holton broke – a magnificent break and just when it seemed he would score Luiters tackled him from behind. The Ikeys bashed, replacement prop Francois van Wyk drove at the posts. The referee referred the matter to the TMO, with strange results.
The TMO did not answer the question but told the referee that there was no clear evidence that a try had been scored. On that recommendation the referee did not award the try which could have taken the score to 13-18.
Holton’s second clean break saw him racing down the field. He threw a perfect pass inside to Farrar who, somehow, dropped the ball.
Bad handling gave the Shimlas a chance and substitute scrumhalf Pieter Rademan sped over for his side’s third try. It was 30-5 with 15 minutes to play when the Ikeys bashed again and this time a try was given as they went over in a bundle. Captain Ntsolo Setlaba was probably the scorer. That was under the posts but Holton’s hurried – drop-goal – conversion hit the upright.
With time running out, Earl Snyman broke and gave to Rynhard Erwee who gave back to Snyman who lost the ball at the line. But the Ikeys produced some remarkable bungling which led to a try for Shimlas eighthman Fanie van der Walt and the bonus-point try.
It was UCT’s first opening-day defeat in the Varsity Cup since 2009 – when they lost at home to Maties – but, crucially, it was Shimlas’ first win over the Ikeys in the history of the Varsity Cup.
Tries: Leyds, Setlaba
Tries: Luiters, Van Vuuren, Rademan, Van der Walt
Cons: Scheepers 4
Pens: Scheepers 3
UCT: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Damian de Allende, 12 Adrian Kritzinger (vice-captain), 11 Mark Winter, 10 Nick Holton, 9 Nick Farrar, 8 Greg Mallett, 7 Graham Knoop, 6 Ntsolo Setlaba (captain), 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Pallo Manuel, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Matt Page, 1 Wes Chetty.
Substitutes: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 James Kilroe, 19 James Tatham, 20 Steve Wallace, 21 Michael Morris, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 Digby Webb.
Shimlas: 15 Shaun Davids, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Cameron Jacobs, 12 Rynhardt Erwee, 11 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 10 Erick Colyn, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Fanie van der Walt, 7 Oupa Nohoje, 6 Pieter Labuschagnè (captain), 5 JC Astle, 4 Joubert Horn, 3 Ian Potgieter, 2 PW van Vuuren, 1 Charles Marais.
Substitutes: 16 JC van Wyk, 17 Kevin Stevens, 18 Wilken Heyns, 19 Armand Koster, 20 Pieter Rademan, 21 Franna du Toit, 22 Earl Snyman, 23 Carl van Heerden.
Referee: Jason Jaftha
Assistant referees: François Groenewald, Marius van der Westhuizen
TMO: JC Fortuin, Deon van Blommestein