Unlucky Impi come close in Bloem

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content on 28 Jan 2014 at 10:29
Tagged with : , , , ,

John Mitchell so nearly got his Varsity Shield coaching career off to a winning start last night, as his UKZN Impi side came agonisingly close to an upset win over defending champions CUT in Bloemfontein.

An early try to Sharks under 19 prop Stefan van Schalkwyk, coupled with some good goal-kicking from flyhalf Brendan Cope, saw the Impi take an early 10-2 lead. They held on well, but eventually relinquished that lead just before half time, as a yellow card to number 8 Deon Carney proved telling. CUT flyhalf Noel Marx scored the try that, once converted, saw the teams go into half-time locked at 10-all.

UKZN again threatened to pull away in the second half, with a further Cope penalty and a try by impressive winger Shayne Makombe seeing them lead 20-10. The defending champions, though, found another gear and scored two quick tries, through prop Danie van der Merwe and centre Johan van Schalkwyk, to lead 26-20 going into the final minutes. Makombe’s second, right on the final hooter, gave the Impi a sniff of victory, but Cope alas pulled the touchline conversion, leaving the CUT Ixias the spoils in a 26-25 result.

Mitchell and his charges will take much heart from this inspired showing, away from home, against a side that never looked like losing at all last year. Things are certainly on the up down in Maritzburg.

CUT (26):Tries: Marx, Van der Merwe, Van Schalkwyk, Cons: Marx 3,Pen: Marx
UKZN (25): Tries: Van Schalkwyk, Makombe 2, Cons: Cope 2, Pens: Cope 2

FNB CUT: 15 Kholo Ramashala, 14 Alec Mhlango, 13 Johan van Schalkwyk, 12 Charles Hitchcock, 11 Duan Pretorius, 10 Noel Marx, 9 Marius Grobler, 8 Juan Hugo, 7 Frans Sisita, 6 Bolofo Mokoea, 5 Fanie Coetzer, 4 Lyvette Shikwambana, 3 Danie Van der Merwe, 2 Deon Gouws, 1 Len Noort.
Replacements: 16 Gerhard Baard, 17 Carl Gersbach, 18 Ian Van Wyk, 19 Vincent Maruping, 20 Stephan Griesel, 21 Mosego Toolo, 22 Dean Kouprihanoff, 23 Hanro Liebenberg.

FNB UKZN: 15 Brandon Bailing, 14 Shayne Makombe, 13 Hendrik Lategan, 12 Gareth Meikle, 11 Hendrik Groenewald, 10 Brendan Cope, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Deon Carney, 7 Zwela Zondi, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama (captain), 5 Johan Wagenaar, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Henri Boshoff.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Mandioma, 17 Leon Mulder, 18 Adam Wessels, 19 Sanele Malwane, 20 Nelson Makhanye, 21 Gavin Nyawata, 22 Mondli Ntshingila, 23 Sizwe Kuhbeka.


  • Excellent!I bet they are really bucked with themselves. My daughter plays for UKZN womens and we go down to watch – Varsity shield will be an absolute must!

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.01.14 10:47:35 by Caratacus Reply
  • I must admit i didnt watch the entire game but did catch most of it. The thing that did impress was that Mitchell seems to have finally sorted out the UKZN forwards and they look big and aggressive as well as being well organised which is a good sign. Later in the game they did make a few errors which ended up costing them so you have to ask if its fitness or just a case of early season rust. I hope they stay injury free as i dont know how much depth there is but on the face of what i saw yesterday there is definitely some good signs coming out of UKZN

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.01.14 10:51:02 by SheldonK Reply
  • Its clear that there is some sort of dovetailing with the academy and this varsity team, does anyone know how it works and has come about.

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.01.14 11:09:27 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • I caught the second half of the game yesterday and enjoyed it. What was weird though was the experiment of being able to mark a clean catch of the ball in any field position – I did not like that and I did not like the ref and linesmen missing blatant forward passes.

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.01.14 11:12:45 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 3) : no – I don’t know any details and nobody is really admitting much. All I know is that the Impi team suddenly boasts a lot more contracted players than ever in the past…. Meikle, Wright, Koegelenberg and van Schalkwyk are far bigger names than they’ve been able to call on in the past.

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.01.14 11:13:43 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : And Marne Coetzee according to this weekends Rapport.

    “Boonop het die Impi nie net in hoë profiel-afrigters belê nie, maar hul spelervoorraad is ook aangevul.

    Skielik beskik die span oor provinsiale ervaring: Onder die nuwe gesigte in die groep vir 2014 is Deon Carney (losvoorspeler, Griekwas), Dean Muir (haker, Grens), Johan Wagenaar (slot, Grens), Ado Wessels (slot, Grens) en Henri Boshoff (stut, Leeus), asook die Jong Bokkie-stut Marné Coetzee van die Haaie-akademie en van sy akademiemaats soos Gideon Koegelenberg (slot), Brandon Cope (losskakel) en Cameron Wright (skrumskakel).”

    Here is the link to the full article in Rapport.

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.01.14 11:32:30 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : I know there was a change in the courses you could do through the academy etc so i think they trying to dovetail so that the degree is almost like a UKZN distance learning thing, well as far as i know. Dont kno details. But surely logic says there are so many playing resources in KZN that guys should be snapped up. I know guys want to study through Varsity College and ETA etc but surely distance learning through UKZN can achieve similar results through the academy setup etc. I mean if you look at Tukkies- its basically the Bulls Vodacom Cup side…now how do they get that right?

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.01.14 11:54:45 by SheldonK Reply

  • This is long overdue! The Sharks made overtures to UKZN way back when Varsity Cup was first being established. The organisers and even the other Varsities thought that it would be good to have a KZN team in the competition. For whatever reason the powers that be at the UKZN would not buy in.

    @SheldonK (Comment 7) : Basically many of the unions have simply flaunted the regulations or found technical loopholes insofar as player eligibility is concerned. The consequences have been little more than a slap on the wrist and the Bulls/Tuks have been the prime, but certainly not the only, culprits.

    I understand that they have tightened up considerably this year in an effort to restrict the competition to genuinely eligible players. Varsity Cup has become far more appealing to qualifying players in the professional ranks than Vodacom Cup. The crowds are substantially larger and the coverage more comprehensive.

    The franchises with strong relationships with the universities in their region are doing deals with those varsities to allow players who qualify as students to play Varsity cup rather than Vodacom Cup.

    Incidentally I was told recently that the average crowd for varsity Cup exceeded Currie Cup in 2013 if you exclude the Semis and Final. Not sure if that is correct or not.

  • Comment 8, posted at 29.01.14 09:43:27 by steve Reply

  • @steve (Comment 8) : Yeh i agree with you totally. Vodacom Cup has become a nothing competition. I cant see the sponsors being interested for too much longer. I still believe that the currie cup 1st division should run at the same time as super rugby. Super rugby squads would not have to be that extensive as the excess players go then either go to the 1st Div Unions to play or they could play Varsity Cup or this Community Cup comp. I do believe that the Community Cup needs to be expanded to replace the Vodacom Cup

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.01.14 10:25:43 by SheldonK Reply


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