Wits overcame a resistant Central University of Technology (CUT) on Monday 2 April, to be crowned Varsity Shield champions and secure automatic promotion to the Varsity Cup for the next two seasons.

In what can only be described as a sloppy game, Wits managed to convert more chances to win the game 19-17 and the Shield.

Coach, Andrew Royle said before the game the biggest challenges of the game would be to get their own ball and retain possession, but handling errors and ill-discipline characterised the game.

Wits started poorly when a mistake from the kick-off gave the opposition an early opportunity to score, with winger Alec Mhlanaga scoring in the corner. Fly half, Jannie Myburgh, managed to convert the try which gave CUT an early 8-0 advantage.

The first 20 minutes of the game saw little opportunity for Wits, as they went into the first strategy break trailing 10-2.

Rinus Bothma, man-of-the-match in Wits’ previous outing, scored a try from a line-out after a big shove from the Wits forwards shortly after the first strategy break. Bothma was one of the leading try-scorers among the forwards this season. Kyle Peyper converted the try to draw the scores level at 10-10.

A great solo effort by Bronson Lange in the dying seconds of the first half saw Wits take a five-point advantage into half-time, as they led the opposition 15-10.

Ill-discipline from Wits saw two players sin-binned within minutes. However, CUT was not able to take advantage of their numerical advantage.

A long-range drop-kick from Peyper extended Wits’ lead to 19-12, which meant the opposition had to score at least twice to save the game.

CUT managed to score an unconverted try with only minutes remaining on the clock, but good defence from Wits ensured that the opposition could not get any more points before time ran out.

As the whistle blew, Wits kicked the ball and won the game 19-17, which means they will qualify to compete with other top universities such as the University of Johannesburg, and the University of Stellenbosch in the Varsity Cup next season.


Published in Vuvuzela Print Edition, 13 April 2012