THE Shimlas snatched a lastminute 23-21 win over a gutsy Madibaz team to maintain their unbeaten record in a heart-stopping Varsity Cup clash at the NMMU Stadium last night.
With the game in the balance right until the end, cool-headed Shimlas flyhalf Niel Marais kicked a penalty in the final moments to keep his team’s unbeaten record intact and break the hearts of the brave Madibaz team.
The Madibaz, who were down 21-0 after 19 minutes, staged a magnificent second half recovery and the scores were level at 21-21 with 14 minutes left.
It was the inspirational Madibaz vice-captain CJ Velleman who charged over the Shimlas tryline for his team’s third try, which the cool-headed Steven Hansel converted to leave the teams on level terms.
It did not take the Shimlas long to assert their early dominance and as early as the third minute their powerful pack drove their way over the Madibaz line with Refuoe Rampete dotting down.
The Madibaz suffered an early setback when Velleman was yellow-carded after 10 minutes and the Shimlas made their numerical advantage count almost immediatedly.
Showing power and composure, the Shimlas once again mauled the ball over the Madibaz line with Neil Claassen dotting down after 13 minutes to put the home team under early pressure.
When the first strategy break arrived, the Madibaz were already 21-0 down after Shimlas scrumhalf Renier Botha darted over to score his team’s third try.
The Madibaz put their first points on the board after neat play by Yamkele Ngam, who fed the ball to fullback Jarryd Buys.
He showed blistering pace to go over in the corner after 28 minutes.
The try sparked the Madibaz into life but, despite enjoying more possession, they were still trailing 21-8 at the break.
After half time the Madibaz came out with all guns blazing, but they were denied by brave defensive work by the Shimlas.
The pressure eventually told and, after several phases, Tythan Adams went over in the corner to reduce the defecit to 21-13 and bring the game to life.
The Madibaz still have a home game against Tuks in Port Elizabeth to look forward to on March 23 as they bid to get back on the winning track. Their remaining away game is against a struggling Maties outfit next Monday in Stellenbosch. The scorers:
Shimlas 23: Tries: Refuoe Rampete, Niel Claassen, Renier Botha. Conversions: Niel Marais (2). Penalty: Marais.
Madibaz 21: Tries: Jarryd Buys, Tythan Adams, CJ Velleman. Conversions: Steven Hansel (2). Meanwhile, two second-half tries handed Maties a slender 16-15 victory over UJ.
The win handed Maties their first victory of the campaign and will bring a sense of relief to Stellenbosch as they ended a fourmatch winless run.
Other results: Tuks 63 CUT 8, NWU-Puk 21 Ikeys 40.