Wits go top in Varsity Shield
Johannesburg - FNB Wits put in a solid performance to beat a spirited FNB Fort Hare team 22-13 and go top of the Varsity Shield table, whilst - in other action on Monday - FNB UWC secured a 24-15 away win over FNB UKZN.
Wits opened the scoring after good work by centre Heinke Hartdegen who put flying wing Riaan Arends away for the first try for the home team.
Shortly after that Fort Hare lost their flyhalf and goalkicker Qondani Katywa after he was sin-binned for giving the referee a piece of his mind, which made the task that much more difficult for the Men from Alice.
Wits captain David Turnbull managed to get a great off-load to right-wing Nkuli Gamede who went over for the second try. Arends then produced a moment of individual magic - chipping over the defence and collecting the ball on the goalline to crash over for his second try.
At that stage Wits had a commanding 19-0 lead and looked likely to run away with a big victory. However, Fort Hare fought back manfully and some slick handling saw flank Nkosikhona Nofuma go over for the try just before half-time.
Fort Hare continued to claw their way back into the game after the break, getting up to 19-13 after Katywa slotted two penalties. Wits held on in the end, however, with centre Brendan Lizamore kicking a late penalty to deny Fort Hare the losing bonus point.
In Pietermaritzburg, UWC staged a comeback to defeat the UKZN Impi 24-15 in front of 1,500 supporters at the Peter Booysen Stadium.
It was tight in the early exchanges, with both sides struggling for the ascendancy at 3-3 until UKZN No.8 Leon Stevens got over for a try late in the first-half after a crucial turnover scrum on the UWC five metre line to make the half-time score 10-3 in favour of the home side.
UWC started the second-half with a bang, scoring in the opening five minutes through hooker Charlie van Jaarsveld. Flyhalf Ambrose Steyn converted to level things up at 10-10.
UKZN struck back with a try from a line-out drive just five minutes later scored by lock Tinashe Bopoto to take the Impi into the lead at 15-10.
UWC then took the game to the hosts in a period of sustained pressure that resulted in a well-worked try to flank Lwandile Makibi.
The visitors scored again with ten minutes left through a try to replacement Griffith Temba, and they held that advantage until the final whistle - finishing the hard-fought encounter as deserved 24-15 victors.
All the scorers and teams from Monday, February 28:
Wits 22 Fort Hare 13
For FNB Wits:
Tries: Arends 2, Gamede
Cons: Lizamore 2
For FNB Fort Hare:
Pens: Katywa 2
Wits: 15 Michael Sephton-Poultney, 14 Nkuli Gamede, 13 Brendon Lizamore, 12 Heinke Hartdegen, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Sean Manton, 9 David Turnbull (captain), 8 Devin Montgomery, 7 Sam Peter, 6 Ryan Odendaal, 5 Charles Baggott, 4 Katlego Ntsie, 3 Paulo Ferreira, 2 Rory Anderson, 1 Katlego Kgame.
Replacements: 16 Paolo Berinato, 17 Anele Guzana, 18 Brendan Whtye, 19 Shai Korb, 20 Brent Crossley, 21 Emmanuel Mphande, 22 Rudolf Prinsloo, 23 Clayton Allem.
Fort Hare: 15 Ayanda Mateisi, 14 Vuyo Mboto, 13 Thabo Ratyana, 12 Lukhanyiso Magele, 11 Sabelo Kolanisi, 10 Qondani Katywa, 9 Sibabalwe Mtsulwana, 8 Thando Ndondo (captain), 7 Nkosikhona Nofuma, 6 Billy Dutton, 5 Sokhana Mkona, 4 Itumeleng Mokae, 3 Xola Mapapu, 2 Vuyisani Mavuso, 1 Luvuyo Kama.
Replacements: 16 Luzuko Nyabaza, 17 Sive Ntwasa, 18 Mzwandile Yalezo, 19 Aphelele Maho, 20 Sichangele Mateza, 21 Garth van Rayner, 22 Lukhanyiso Fana, 23 Buntu Ntlanzi.
Referee: Lusanda Jam
UKZN 15 UWC 24
For FNB UKZN:
Tries: Stevens, Bopoto
For FNB UWC:
Tries: Van Jaarsveld, Makibi, Temba
Cons: Steyn 3
UKZN: 15 Jaco Potgieter, 14 Gareth Borchardt, 13 Willem Rheeder, 12 Kurt Mavrodaris, 11 Louis Nondela, 10 Peter Grunow, 9 Zander Engelbrecht, 8 Kyle Ross, 7 Lean Stevens, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama, 5 Tinashe Bopoto, 4 Gerrit Fourie, 3 Marc Colia, 2 Justin Meanwell (captain), 1 Kurt Schonert.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Smith, 17 Sizwe Kubheka, 18 Chris Ndlovu, 19 Robert Warnock, 20 Calvin Channing, 21 Wessel Booysen, 22 Kirsten Jones, 23 Mazisi Ostrich.
UWC: 15 Ashley Kok, 14 Donovan Williams, 13 Justin McKay, 12 Adrian Herman, 11 Anthony Volminck, 10 Ambrose Steyn, 9 Denzil Willemse, 8 Heinrich Marcus, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Lwandile Makibi, 5 Juan Paul Kellerman (captain), 4 Garrick Mathee, 3 Zolani Faku, 2 Charlie van Jaarsveld, 1 Kelvin de Bruyn.
Replacements: 16 Curtly de Kock, 17 Kieran James, 18 Griffith Temba, 19 Garth Arendse, 20 Fredrick Muller, 21 Charl van Vollenhoven, 22 Beaton Bailey, 23 Mthetheleli Fuzani.
Referee: Gerrie de Bruin