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Impi, you beauty!

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content on 25 Mar 2014 at 09:53
Tagged with : , , ,

John Mitchell’s UKZN Impi side handed the CUT Ixias only their second defeat of the 2014 Varsity Shield competition when they recorded a bonus point, 39-21 win in Pietermartizburg last night. The win was particularly significant as it confirmed UKZN’s second place finish on the log, meaning they will play their first-ever Varsity Shield final next week.

With the UFH Blues starting the week just three points behind on the log, there was no room for error for the Impi and nothing less than a win would have sufficed, since their rivals also picked up maximum points in a win over the TUT Vikings in a game that ran concurrently with the one at Peter Booysen Park. The sides played a cat and mouse game, with a quick score to CUT wing Johan van Schalkwyk countered by a try to Impi lock Ado Wessels. Van Schalkwyk then scored again to take his side out to a 13-8 lead, before Impi flyhalf Duncan Campbell narrowed the gap via a penalty.

Mitchell’s team stepped on the accelerator before the half time break, though, with tries to wings Hendrik Lategan and Shayne Makombe (both converted by Campbell) seeing them take a handy 26-13 advantage into half time.

Ixias staged a fightback of their own in the second period, as a converted try to Deon Gouws brought them back within a score (26-21) before the home side put the result beyond doubt via a brace of tries to outside centre Brandon Bailing.

The vital thing about this victory is that it now gives UKZN two chances at Varsity Cup promotion for next season. Should they win next week’s final (away, to the same opposition), they will secure automatic promotion. This may not be as far-fetched as it seems, though, with the side suffering an agonising 1-point defeat to CUT in their first game of the season, having led for most of the match. That route would be the high road to a Varsity Cup place, but even without winning in Bloemfontein next week, the Impi could have a second bite of the cherry; should they lose, they’d go into a promotion match against 7th-placed Varsity Cup side UJ in Johannesburg.


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