Shimlas cruise past Wits
Bloemfontein - UFS-Shimlas have cruised to a comfortable 31-15 bonus-point victory over a determined Wits side in a rain-soaked Bloemfontein on Monday.
The Free State team scored two tries in each half to get their Varsity Cup campaign off to a solid start against a valiant Wits outfit that never stopped trying.
The visitors scored three tries of their own, but fell short of scoring a bonus-point try, although they showed plenty of heart in playing hard right up to the final whistle.
The home side made a fast start to the match, scoring two tries in the first ten minutes to stamp their authority on Wits who were not able to get their hands on the ball.
Shimlas lock Neill Jordaan was first to cross the whitewash when he crashed over in the corner from a driving maul, with former Sharks and Griquas stalwart Gouws Prinsloo adding the conversion.
The home crowd did not have to wait long for the second try as the ball was shifted wide from another maul, and flying wing Divandre Strydom was on hand to finish things off and put his side firmly in the driving seat with a 16-0 lead.
After those early blows Wits regrouped well and tightened the game up considerably in the wet conditions. The visitors started to enjoy more territory and possession as Shimlas were forced to make plenty of tackles in their own half.
Wits were eventually rewarded for their hard work when blindside flank JJ Breet got over for a try from an attacking line-out, but those were to be their first and last points of the first half.
Both teams were finding the slippery conditions tough to negotiate, and it was the home side that had the final say before half-time as Prinsloo slotted a penalty to give them an 18-5 advantage at the break.
Shimlas made a determined start to the second half and it was not long before they had extended their advantage through a try from replacement lock Fanie van der Walt from a driving maul.
This was followed soon afterwards by the bonus point try as lock Niell Claasen crossed the whitewash to give his team a formidable 31-5 lead.
However, to their credit Wits refused to let their heads drop and they were rewarded with two late tries as they kept the home side on their toes right to the final whistle.
Flyhalf Ashlon Davids danced his way over for a superb individual try before loosehead prop Hannes Ludick crashed over to cap a period of forward dominance from the Johannesburg team in the last five minutes.
Despite that late rally, it was not enough to overhaul the Shimlas who took a full house of five log points from their opening encounter this season.Scorers:
31 - Tries:
Jordaan, Strydom, Van der Walt, Claasen; Conversions:
Prinsloo (3) Penalty:
15 - Tries:
Breet, Davids, LudickTeams:Shimlas:
15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Divandre Strydom, 13 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Sethu Tom, 10 Gouws Prinsloo, 9 Andre van der Walt, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neill Claasen, 4 Oupa Mohoje, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Elandre Huggett (captain), 1 Dolph Botha.Substitutes:
16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Gideon Bruwer, 18 Fanie van der Walt, 19 Sihle Ngxabi, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Franna du Toit, 22 Maphutha Dolo, 23 Justin Pappin.Wits:
15 Ruhan Nel, 14 Joshua Jarvis, 13 Mandla Dube, 12 Brent Crossley, 11 Divan Ferguson, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Matt Torrance, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 JJ Breet, 6 JP Jonck, 5 Rendani Ramova, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Gideon Muller, 2 Ashley Kohler, 1 Hannes Ludick.
Substitutes: 16 James Marx, 17 Kyle Wood, 18 Senna Esterhuizen, 19 Thato Mavundla, 20 Nkuli Gamede, 21 Wilton Pietersen, 22 Pieter van Biljoen, 23 Ferdinand Kelly.
Referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Jaco Kotze