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.

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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.