FNB Wits endure a disappointing loss against FNB Shimlas at home.

FNB WITS suffered another bruising setback in this year’s Varsity Cup after a narrow defeat by FNB Shimlas in front of their fans at the Wits Rugby stadium on Monday, February 18.

The Boytjies managed a strong start to the game which ended with a 33-26 after a late try by the side from the University of the Free Sate (UFS) in round three of the Varsity Cup.

Cal Smid secured the first try for the Braamfontein outfit in the 14th minute which was successfully converted by Kurt Webster. Wits asserted their dominance on the match when they penetrated a fragile defense from UFS, resulting in CJ Conradie scoring the team’s second try in the 21st minute.

After countless attempts to nudge the ball under the posts, UFS finally made up some ground and scored their first try in the 28th minute but missed the conversion, leaving the score at 14-5 to the home side.
As the half time drew nearer, Wits tightened their defense with the hope of protecting their lead.

The visitors managed to find the middle of the goal posts after the break and celebrated a successful conversion putting them in the lead with 19-14.

Wits half-heartedly fought to regain their lead when Reynard Cronje scored the team a try which was not converted, putting the hosts on par with their guests at 19-19.

Marnus Boshoff extended Shimlas’ lead with a successful try conversion which solidified the visitors’ lead. Ruan Cleote’s try conversion equalised the score at 26-26. Shimlas were not to be denied their victory though, managing a try conversion in the dying minutes of the game.

The hosts were visibly disappointed by the result as they had ample opportunity to draw or win the match.

Wits coach Hugo van As said of his team, “You can’t fault them for the effort but it’s disappointing because we had opportunities to at least draw the game. …we had opportunities but we didn’t make use of.”

Wits winger Kwanele Ngema said “We would have loved to win the game but everything won’t always go our way so it’s about learning from our mistakes and getting better next week.”

Wits take on FNB Tuks on Monday, February 25, at the Tuks Stadium in Pretoria.

FEATURED IMAGE: A Wits player skips tackle in hopes of crossing the chalk in front of the home crowd. Photo: Phumi Ramalepe