Defending champions FNB UP-Tuks will play in the Varsity Shield next season after their Round 6 defeat by FNB Wits.  

FNB Wits secured a historic win over the University of Pretoria (UP-Tuks) in the Varsity Cup on Monday, March 27, with a 77th minute try and conversion, for a score of 33-21.  

Wits had an impeccable start with flyhalf Setshaba Mokoena scoring a try in the sixth minute and shortly thereafter, Wian De Lange and Lindo Ncusane scoring two more tries with successful conversions. UP-Tuks fought back with wing Bayanda Ngubane scoring a try with a conversion, however, Wits maintained their 19-7 lead by the end of the first half.  

Tuks gained ground in the second half with eighth-man Divan Venter and centre Zander Reynders scoring point-of-origin tries in the final quarter, earning the Pretoria team bonus points for a total of 21. However, Wits managed to keep up the pressure with lock Hendrick Gouws scoring a try and prop Banele Mthenjane winning the game for the Witsies, relegating the defending champions to play in the Varsity Shield next season.   

Afterwards, Wits player, Dameon Venter, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “We prepared really well and understood that if we just stuck to our plan the result would [yield] itself.” He added that their strategy for the rest of the season involved, “taking each challenge week by week [as we] have set clear goals to go all the way and make history”. 

Supporters of the Braamfontein team came out in their numbers to cheer the home side. After the game, Jack Du Toit, a third-year civil engineering student said, “It is my first time watching a live game and it is an awesome experience to see good vibes and students having fun because [that] is what Varsity Cup is all about, bringing people together.”  

Tuks third-year psychology student Pepi Mushayabasa was disappointed at the result, saying, “[Tuks] had the potential to do better if there were more Tuks supporters [because] the vibe isn’t there for them.”   

Wits will play the FNB NWU Eagles in Round 7 at the Wits Stadium, on April 3, 2023.  

UP-Tuks player, Johannes Mare and Witsie, George Devenish reach for the ball during a lineout in their Round 6 game in the
Varsity Cup on March 27, 2023 at the Wits Rugby Stadium. Photo: Georgia Cartwright

FEATURED IMAGE: FNB Wits Rugby players face off in a scrum against UP-Tuks during a Varsity Cup Round 6 match on March 27, 2023 at the Wits Rugby Stadium. Photo: Georgia Cartwright