The FNB UKZN Impi were comprehensively beaten 51-5 by Wits in their return Varsity Shield game in Johannesburg on Monday evening. The Wits side literally blew their visiting opposition away showing little mercy as they completely dominated proceedings scoring seven tries in the process and so setting themselves up for the playoffs.
It was a disappointing evening for the students from UKZN but they just had no answer to a hugely motivated Wits side whose tries came from NO 8 Jason Fraser (2), wings Nkuli Gamede (2) and Riaan Arends, fullback Sean Manton and prop Katlego Ntsie with centre Brendon Lizamore slotting two penalties and five conversions.
The Impi replied with a try from lock Tinashe Bopoto. In the other game played on Monday night CUT from Bloemfontein edged out the University of the Western Cape 30-29 in a thriller. Next Monday UKZN Impi travel to Alice to meet the Blues from Fort Hare.
The local First Division and Under 20 leagues got off to a warm start with a vastly improved FNB UKZN Durban side hosting Amanzimtoti in uncomfortable humid conditions, which didn’t spoil the afternoon’s entertainment. The South Coast Terriers beat the local students 32-23 but one would have to agree that of the two coaches, Varsity’s Ian Tait would have been the happier as this was a hugely improved student side compared to last year.
Certainly both sides did look a little rusty as was to be expected in the opening round but there were some good moments in the game that definitely suggested that the Durban Varsity students have turned their ship around. Toti ended up outscoring their hosts five tries to three and will be a hard side to beat while the other First Division sides are likely to find the UKZN Durban outfit a completely different proposition this year-that is for certain.
In the other games South section games South Coast Warriors beat their visitors an improved Kokstad side 26-5 while Ricoh Maritzburg Collegians accounted for the newly promoted side from Zululand, Richards Bay 37-17 at Woodburn and Sean Temple’s Flux Fluid Motion pre-season training sessions with Hillcrest must have stood them in good stead after beating Wentworth 47-6 in their opener. Ballito Dolphins had a good away win beating Maritzburg Eliphants in the remaining game.
In the North section Piet Retief beat Volksrust 25-10 getting their 90th anniversary off to a good start.
In the Frank Norris Under 20 ‘A’ competition Jonsson College Rovers got their 2011 campaign off to a rollicking start hammering Pietermaritzburg 58-10 while in Zululand, Empangeni had a good start to their season as well beating their visitors from Durban North, Crusaders, 37-11 and Varsity College Old Boys accounted for Bluff Spar Harlequins 30-19 in the other game.
The Senior Inter-provincial Touch Rugby Tournament incorporating eight regions and four divisions kicks off at the North Coast Crawford School campus on the Watson Highway on Saturday 19 March with the finals scheduled to be played on Sunday 21 March.
- Jos Robson