Shimlas sneak into semis
Port Elizabeth - Shimlas booked a place in the 2011 Varsity Cup semifinals with a come-from-behind 17-13 win over a very determined NMMU side in PE on Monday evening; a result which, effectively, brought about the end of the three-times champion Maties.
The home side led 3-0 at half-time, and 10-0 at one point in the second half, but were unable to stop the visitors from coming away with the win.
In the end, tries by captain - and Man of the Match - Willie Britz and replacement Shaun Davids were enough to see the Men from Bloemfontein into a second successive semifinal but it could, so easily, have been different for them.
With NMMU defending as if their lives depended on it - no doubt in their bid to avoid another Wooden Spoon finish - the Kovsies were never allowed to settle at the Xerox NMMU Stadium.
In fact, they led just once in the match - a lead they never relinquished after Davids's 70th minute try put them 17-13 up.
Davids, whose try was converted by starting fullback George Whitehead, would not have scored many more crucial tries; following on from Britz's score in the 57th minute. Both tries were - in fact - converted by Whitehead, Britz's score representing Shimlas' first points of the match.
Up till then, however, it had been all NMMU on the scoreboard, with their flyhalf Marius Muller - who has been in fine form all year long - scoring all their points through a try, one conversion and a penalty goal.
Muller's 52nd minute score, coupled with his first-half penalty, had given the home side a handy 10-0 lead, but they were unable to prevent the visitors from streaking ahead and into the semifinals.
The Shimlas, as they did last year, will now have to travel to Cape Town to take on UCT in their semifinal clash.
A bonus point win for the Kovsies would have meant them hosting the semifinal against the Ikeys, but - like the Maties found out on Monday - any semifinal place is better than no semifinal place.
Tries: Britz, Davids
Cons: Whitehead 2
NMMU: 15 Vuyolwethu Mazaka, 14 Juan du Preez, 13 Wade Roos, 12 Jeffrey Taljard, 11 Mayibuye Ndwandwa, 10 Marius Muller, 9 Shannon Rick, 8 Jaco Swanepoel (captain), 7 Andre Goosen, 6 Ferdinand Gerber, 5 Mzwande Zito, 4 Louis Fourie, 3 Ross Dawid-Anderson, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Dexter Fahey.
Replacements: 16 Lumka Mbane, 17 Musa Tukela, 18 Heinrich van der Toorn, 19 Ulrich Pretorius, 20 Marlin Ruiters, 21 Bradley Kretzmann, 22 Hlangoluhle Nodongwe, 23 Gareth Hartley.
Shimlas: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Earl Snyman, 12 Charl Weideman, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Franna Du Toit, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Erik le Roux, 7 Willie Britz (captain), 6 Etienne Terblanche, 5 Joubert Horn, 4 Wilken Heyns, 3 Ian Potgieter, 2 JC van Wyk, 1 John-Henry Harris.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebeneberg, 17 Johan van Niekerk, 18 Frederick Ngoza, 19 Gerrit Theron, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 Kobus Neethling, 22 Divandre Strydom, 23 Henry van Niekerk.
Referee: François Groenewald