DUT moves clear of drop zone
WRAP: DUT claimed a crucial 15-12 win against the TUT Vikings in round six of the Varsity Shield on Sunday.
The result improved their chances of avoiding relegation.
DUT battled bravely in an error-strewn match at CPUT Sports Stadium and held an 8-7 lead moments before half-time. The Vikings crossed the line before the hooter, however, to take a 12-7 advantage into the break.
DUT flyhalf Minenhle Siwela converted his own try in the 67th minute to steer his team into a powerful position in the closing stages. Siwela missed two penalty attempts thereafter. The DUT defence did enough, though, to repel a final surge by the Vikings and secure what could be a campaign-defining victory. The result sees DUT moving two log points ahead of Rhodes on the combined 2021-22 log with one round to play.
In another upset, winger Zamakuhle Zulu scored a late try as the UKZN Impi beat CPUT 20-18 to finish the weekend at the top of the Varsity Shield standings. The Impi were the more physical and accurate side over the course of the first half. Their scrum put the hosts under pressure and their big men won the battle at the gainline. CPUT stayed in touch via the reliable kicking boot of flyhalf Feghorn-Leigh Snyders.
The score was 10-6 to the Impi at half-time. An improved showing at the collisions and breakdowns allowed the hosts to claw their way back into the contest. As the end of the game approached, they were in a strong position to claim an important victory. UKZN showed superior intensity and composure at the death, though.
A sweeping move was expertly finished by Zulu and Jarryd Nicholls’ conversion gave the visitors a narrow win. The reigning champions will be disappointed with their performances over the course of their home leg. After losing big games against the UFH Blues and UKZN, they will be hard-pressed to secure home advantage for the semi-finals.
The Impi are well placed to finish in the top two. They currently sit at the top of the standings, but – having completed all their league matches – they may be overtaken by the Blues in the final round.
In the first match of the day, the WSU booked their semi-final spot with a 48-11 win against Rhodes. It took the All Blacks 33 minutes to secure the try-scoring bonus point when fullback Lisolethu Valisi, who won the Player That Rocks award, dotted down.
That came after two tries from flyhalf Lwandile Mapuko and another by scrumhalf Lithemba Ngcetane. Fullback Jano Roux briefly kept Rhodes in the game with two penalty goals, but the Stallions suffered a big setback when captain Simelela Mbanzi was yellow-carded on the half-hour mark. No sooner had he left the field than WSU scored their bonus-point try and the conversion gave them a commanding 26-6 lead. Rhodes showed great character while down to 14 men, with centre Tinashe Famba scoring on the stroke of half-time, but that’s as good as it got for them.
After the break, winger Sibusiso Hans scored two more tries for WSU, the second while their tighthead prop, Dale Titus, was in the sin bin. Ngcetane then crossed for two late tries to complete a memorable hat-trick.
Varsity Shield Round Six results and scorers:
Rhodes 11-48 WSU
Try: Tinashe Famba
Pens: Jano Roux 2
Tries: Lwandile Mapuko 2, Lithemba Ngcetane 3, Lisolethu Valisi, Sibusiso Hans 2
Cons: Lisolethu Valisi 4
Player That Rocks: Lisolethu Valisi (WSU)
DUT 15-12 TUT
Tries: Alberth Kapenda, Minenhle Siwela
Tries: Malcolm Langa, Damon Sinuka
Con: Mauritz Maritz
Player That Rocks: Alberth Kapenda (DUT)
CPUT 18-20 UKZN
Tries: Keano Cookson, Ché Klaasen
Con: Feghorn-Leigh Synders
Pens: Snyders 2
Tries: CJ Osode, Zamakuhle Zulu
Cons: Dawro Kock, Jarryd Nicholls
Pens: Kock, Nicholls
Player That Rocks: Ché Klaasen (CPUT)
Round Seven fixtures (Friday, 8 April)
* UFH Blues v DUT (15.00)
* WSU v CPUT (17.00)
* TUT Vikings v Rhodes (TUT Stadium, 17.00)