The Wits rugby team suffered a 61-8 defeat to the University of Free State (Shimlas) in their first Varsity Cup match at the Wits rugby stadium on Monday night.
Wits only managed to get on the scoreboard by virtue of a try by centre Jacques Erasmus and a penalty from flyhalf Laitume Fosita.
The Wits game was characterized by missed opportunities and physical displays by both teams.
Although Wits were the first to get on the scoreboard the celebrations from the crowd were short-lived when Shimlas responded with penalty of their own, a try and fruitful conversion to bring the score to 8-2.
The match was played in wet conditions but Shimlas dominated from kick-off with a strong physical display.
Riaan Arends received a yellow card for an infringement near the Wits try line and Shimlas took advantage scoring another try to bring the score to 16- 2
Coming into the clash, the pressure was on the Witsies to deliver following their promotion from the Varsity Shield to the Varsity Cup.
Wits was down 2-32 at half time and the home team seemed rattled by the tough Shimlas side.
Wits didn’t fare any better in the second half as they missed a number of penalties but were still able to display some strong defense. But Shimlas continued their onslaught with noteworthy drives and tackles.
The referees were not popular among the Wits crowd as they believed a number of faults by Shimlas were missed.
With 10 minutes left of the game the score was 48-2 to Shimlas and Wits showed no signs of picking up the pace as runs and passes continued to be unsuccessful.
The atmosphere at the rugby stadium was palpable as students rallied behind the Wits team with spirited war cries and cheers. Wits first year residences arrived clad in their respective residence colours and sang through the entire match.
In the end, Wits was outplayed in their first match of the Varsity Cup by a technically superior Shimlas.
Published in Wits Vuvuzela 1st edition, 6th February 2013