The FNB UKZN Impiís went down 22-12 to Wits in the second round of the Varsity Shield competition on their home grounds at Pete Booysens Park in Pietermaritzburg on Monday evening. It was their second loss after going down against the University of the Western Cape in the opening round. Wits have now won both their away games after beating Fort Hare in Alice last week.
It was a hard fought game with the local students coming out guns blazing and where soon up 9-0 courtesy of three Kirsten Jones penalties. With the UKZN side up 9-3 at the break it looked good for the home side but sadly the Wits Kuduís came back strong in the last quarter after trailing 12-8 with their two match winning tries going to wing Gamede Nkuli after a spectacular long range penalty by UKZN Impi fullback Jaco Potgieter had put his side in front early in the second half.
It must be said that the inaugural Varsity Shield has undoubtedly showcased the lesser known Universities bringing them huge exposure and one hopes the local campusís will use the competition to good effect in promoting their local institutions.
Local club rugby has been gearing up for the 2011 season and the KZNRU will be announcing the new league sponsors shortly. Jonsson College Rovers will be hosting a triangular competition between Pirates from Johannesburg and False Bay from Cape Town between 2 and 5 March while the Sea Point Hamilton Rugby Club will also be visiting Durban at the same time to play Acer Durban Collegians and Envirosan Old Boys.
After much bantering between the clubs during the silly season, it does auger well for yet another successful year of club rugby.
- Jos Robson