Wednesday Column

The FNB UKZN Impis secured their first victory in the third round of the FNB Varsity Shield competition at the Peter Booysen Sports Park in Pietermaritzburg on Monday evening beating the UFH Blues from Fort Hare in Alice 22-16, but they nearly let it slip after leading 22-3 at the break.

Both sides had lost their two opening round games and needed a win urgently and the local students couldn’t have wished for a better Valentines Day gift to get their momentum going. It was a game played at a high tempo and even with some problematic handling errors at crucial stages of the game from both sides, it was a truly festive and entertaining affair bringing back some great memories of Varsity rugby from days gone by.

There can be no doubt that this Varsity Shield competition has rejuvenated the spirit of the game on the campus’s and from a UKZN Impi perspective the local clubs can expect strong competition from the students by the time the Premier Division League starts in April. Varsity will play 2010 National Club Rugby Champions Jonsson College Rovers at home in their opening league game and by then they would have become a well-oiled machine with more game time under their belts-so we have interesting times ahead

Fort Hare struck first with a with a penalty from flyhalf Qondani Katywa but it was the local students that finished the first half in style with fullback Jaco Potgieter who was awarded the Player that Rocks prize after kicking five penalties and the conversion of flank Lwazi Ngcungama’s try.

The visitors bounced back strongly in the second half with another penalty from Katywe and two tries from Ayand Mateisi and Vuyo Mboto after the UKZN side faded in the second half, something head coach ‘Beans’ Bateman will no doubt be working on for their next game. All in all it was a good result for the hosts and it will surely now set them up for a more positive finish to the competition.

- Jos Robson