Wits are rugby champs

Wits are the 2016 Varsity Shield champions.

It was an intense season but Wits emerged victorious at the Varsity Shield final by beating their visitors from the western Cape 39-2 at home last night. The team’s performance also sees them moving to the top tier Varsity Cup next year.

The Braamfontein outfit dominated the proceedings in the first 20 minutes, scoring 2 tries in the process, one by scrumhalf Ruan Cloete just 5 minutes into game Kyle Wesemann’s try followed shortly after. The University of Western Cape (UWC) responded with a penalty by flyhalf Aidynn Cupido, the team’s only scoring chance converted for the evening.

After the game was interrupted 23 minutes into the game by a blackout in the area.

After the recommencement, Wits captain Warren Gilbert increased the score through a dropgoal outside the 22 to make it 15-2.  Heading into the half-time break, Graham Logan capitalised on a long rolling maul to give Wits a 23-2 lead.

The second half was less easy for the Wits team who defended their line for the better part of the initial stages.  UWC couldn’t crack the defense though despite a number of abortive attempts.  CJ Conradie put the match beyond UWC’s reach with a clinical try before Constant Beckerling sealed the match with his.

Full time score: FNB Wits 39-02 FNB UWC

Scorers

Wits: 39

Tries: Ruan Cloete, Kyle Wesemann, Graham Logan, CJ Conradie, Constant Beckerling
Conversions: Warren Gilbert (4)
Drop goals: Warren Gilbert

UWC: 2

Penalty: Aidynn Cupido

Teams

Wits

15 Luxolo Ntsepe, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Joshua Jarvis, 12 Kyle Wesemann, 11 Sicelo Champion, 10 Warren Gilbert, 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Constant Beckerling, 7 Conor Brockschmidt, 6 Ruan MacDonald, 5. Mitchell Fraser, 4 Graham Logan, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 CJ Conradie, 1 Tidje Visser

Replacements

16 Craig Hume, 17 Ameer Willaims, 18 Mitchell Crossman, 19 Ayabulela Mdudi, 20 Wian Coetzee, 21 Thato Marubela, 22 Adriaan van Blerk, 23 Brandon Palmer

UWC

15 Jacquin Moses, 14 Octovane van Staden, 13 Courtney Cupido, 12 Lubabalo Faleni, 11 Minenhle Mthethwa, 10 Aidynn Cupido, 9 Clayton Daniels, 8 Matthew Faught, , 7 Jeremy Papier, 6 Verno Treu, 5 Matthew le Roux, 4 Brandon Valentyn, 3 Tahriq Allen, 2 Peter Wanjiru, 1 Kelvin de Bruyn

Replacements

16 Keenan Douw, 17 Wayron Losper, 18 Sabelo Dlamini, 19 Byron Burgess, 20 Matthew Nortje, 21 Melikhaya Wana, 22 Monre Lingeveldt, 23 Robin Paulse

 

Wits fights back in Varsity Shield

Tanisha Heiberg

KICKING SUCCESS: FNB Wits Fly half, Warren Gilberts, kicking for the posts during their second Varsity Shield game where his team dominated with a 53-0 win against FNB TUT. Photo: Provided by Catherine Kotze

KICKING SUCCESS: FNB Wits Fly half, Warren Gilberts, kicking for the posts during their second Varsity Shield game where his team dominated with a 53-0 win against FNB TUT. Photo: Provided by Catherine Kotze

FNB Wits beat FNB TUT by 53 points when they played their first home game this season in the Varsity Shield rugby match on Monday.

Enjoying home ground advantage, Wits were hoping to redeem themselves from not only their 26-18 defeat against UKZN last week Monday, but also their 2015 defeat against the same team in the varsity shield finals.

The rainy weather, which threatened to disrupt play, didn’t dampen the spirits as Thato Marubela scored the first try to put his team 5-0 up. Captain Conor Brocschmidt brought the score up five more points to bring his team back into double digits. Fly-half Warren Gilberts, who missed his first conversion, managed to add three extra points on his second attempt. Wits continued piling on the pressure with a try from Constant Beckerling and another successful conversion. The Wits defense held firm against a desperate and physical FNB TUT side, bringing the halftime score to 21-0 for the home team

In the second half continued in the same vein, with Scrum-half Ruan MacDonald scoring three consecutive tries and his teammate AJ van Blerk putting the final nail in the coffin when he converted a penalty try, ending the game with a whitewash final score to 53-0 for FNB Wits.

“They were more physical than I expected but I don’t think they were as tactically prepared as we were,” said Brocschmidt.

The Wits team managed to regroup from a disappointing loss lost week and improve on their backline to clinch not only a confidence boosting win, but also an excellent birthday present for their team captain. “It was quite a good birthday present,” said Brocschmidt.

Even with a slight break, the Wits team won’t lose sight of their target to improve on last season’s form, when they travel to the University of Fort Hare to play FNB UFH next Thursday at Davidson Rugby Stadium.

“Every opposition is a strong opposition but I think we are pretty confident … the boys will be hungry for more after this,” said Brocschmidt.

UKZN shields off Wits for the Cup

UKZN took the 2015 Varsity Shield trophy beating Wits in a close game. After having lost two previous matches to Wits, it was third time’s a charm in the finals for the UKZN team.

final

PINK POWER: 2015 Varsity Shield winners, FNB UKZN players and coaches celebrating the with their gold medals and the trophy at Wits Stadium Monday night.

After a nail-biting final the University of KwaZulu-Natal rugby team beat Wits 24-29 taking home the 2015 Varsity Shield trophy at Wits stadium yesterday evening. With back and forth banter in ball possession for the first 15 minutes of the game, UKZN’s right flanker and captain scored- after which they were dominant throughout the match.

“It came down to the little details and maybe we just wanted it [the win] more,” said UKZN head coach Ryan Strudwick.

UKZN’s defense was impressive as it broke the Wits offensive line multiple times as they pushed forward to attempt tries. The winning team focused on their defence during the past week’s training as it has let them down in the last few games according to Strudwick.

“Obviously we are disappointed. Every final has pressure and we couldn’t handle it,” said Wits head coach Hugo van As.

With Wits losing plenty of balls in front of the try-line, Van As admitted there were many opportunities, but his players just couldn’t pull through.

UKZN captain and overall player of the tournament, Lwazi Ngcungana, said that his team won because they were much more clinical and switched-on in the game than their opponents.

“We were also motivated in the fact that we couldn’t lose three times to Wits in one tournament,” said Ngcungana.

The Wits team’s desperation to win led to many unnecessary mistakes in the last 20 minutes, until hooker Ferdinand Kelly, dropped over the try-line with two minutes of game time left. Still, this spark of good play came too late.

“We have a very young side and yet we had a good season. We just weren’t able to put our play into action tonight,” said Wits captain Richard Crossman.

 

A tough games gives Wits hope for the finals

SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER: FNB Wits standing side-by-side singing the national anthem before kick-off.   Photo: Anlerie de Wet

SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER: FNB Wits standing side-by-side singing the national anthem before kick-off.                 Photo: Anlerie de Wet

FNB Wits gets closer to the finals, defeating FNB UKZN again, with a score of 40-26, after a tough game in the Rugby Varsity Shield cup, last night.

Wits scored the first try of the game within 10 minutes putting them in the lead by eight points.

UKZN did not back down and after a sloppy move from Wits their captain, Lwazi Ngcungama, leveled the scores when he was given a chance to score a penalty.

However, Wits scored another try shortly thereafter through their centre Marx Koch and  just before half-time Ayabulela Mdudi gave Wits in a comfortable lead of 16 points when he scored Wits’s third try.

At the half-time break, Wits coach, Hugo van As said Wits was making a lot of mistakes, receiving a lot of yellow cards that could be avoided.

“We’ll cut down in our mistakes. A lot of penalties against us, a lot of discipline issues, not sure of the interpretation of the law… if we want to get continuity we would have to pick up on our discipline,”  said the coach.

“It was a tough one…I think we showed them too much respect we let them come at us we didn’t play our game tonight,”

However, Wits was not the only team making mistakes as UKZN Coach, Ryan Strudwick also admitted that his team was struggling with defence, making the rest of the game a bit hard.
In the second half of the game, UKZN picked up its pace after a “stern talking” from their coach.

UKZN, toughened their defence and their handling, giving Wits a run for their place at the top. They [UKZN] were sitting on 21 points, putting them just 11 points behind, when Marius Louw scored a try. Siphatisene Dube’s try a few moments later brought them even closer to Wits, taking UKZN up to 26 points.

Wits closed the game a with Brandton Hewitt’s try followed by  Tommy Damba’s conversion in the last 10 minutes of the game, Wits Captain, Richard Crossman admitted that they did not play to their “maximum” capacity.

“It was a tough one…I think we showed them too much respect we let them come at us we didn’t play our game tonight,” Crossman said.

Ngcungama said they played a “scrappy game” and was “really disappointed” as the captain of the team but hoped to do better so that they stand a chance to make it to the finals.

Wits hopes to not only have a place in the finale but to take the finals home while UKZN has to play and win against Fort Hare on March 30 to be guaranteed a place in the finals.

Wits can’t be knocked down

LETS MAKE A CLAP: Wits boys share their victory with the crowd as they walk off the field after a stunning game of multiple tries.

LETS MAKE A CLAP: Wits boys share their victory with the crowd as they walk off the field after a stunning game of multiple tries. Photo: Lutho Mtongana

FNB WITS remain in the top spot of the Varsity Shield log after a comprehensive win against the University of Fort Hare (UFH) last night. The Witsies came away 93 – 0 against the team from Alice at the Wits Rugby stadium.

This was Wits’ second win in the season against Fort Hare, having beaten them 39 – 24 last month.

Wits flew into half-time with an unassailable lead of 48 points after right-wing Joshua Jarvis and left-wing Luxulo Ntsepe helped score two more tries. Fort Hare never managed to recover with poor defence dominating their performance.

“We didn’t make our own one-on-one tackles, we never got the ball-in-hand – we’d kick it away. So we played most of the game without the ball-in-hand, so surely when you don’t have the ball in hand in rugby, you’ll always go down,” said UFH’s coach Currie.

“It’s an embarrassment, I think the best thing about this game is that it’s over. But you have got to keep fighting, the show’s not over, we’ve got two more games left,” said UFH captain, Madoda Ludidi.

“You can’t afford to have three tries scored against you in the first fifteen minutes, then you start playing your own rugby – start playing ‘catch-up rugby’, which is not winning rugby, unfortunately,” Ludidi added.

Wits rugby captain, Richard Crossman congratulated his team on a good game. He was named the “player that rocks” for the night – the Varsity Shield title for the man of the match.

“I’m so glad we were so clinical, I think it was a great game for the team, we’ve got a great coaching style and great management,” Crossman said.

Wits coach, Van As said the boys could stay on top.  “If we keep our feet on the ground and just make sure we achieve what we want at the end of the season.”

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