Durban — The University of Pretoria will meet Stellenbosch University in the Varsity Cup final after they overpowered Shimlas 29-21 in Bloemfontein on Monday night.
The Pretoria team’s forwards took over in the second half to stifle the attacking intentions of the Free Staters and it was a case of pragmatism triumphing over adventure.
In the third minute, the visitors struck first blood when Stefan Coetzee struck home an easy penalty and the fullback followed it up a few minutes later with a try when he burst through an outside gap.
FULL TIME and defending champs @TuksSport are through to the FNB Varsity Cup final after holding off a spirited attempt from the @UFSweb Shimlas.— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) April 18, 2022
FNB UFS 21 - 29 FNB Tuks#RugbyThatRocks proudly brought to you by @FNBSA and @SteersSA pic.twitter.com/xPmXVSg8Bh
Tuks had had the dream start with an 8-0 lead with ten minutes but the home team hit back beautifully with a try by outside centre Janco van Heyningen, who strongly finished after fine running by wing Zane Bester. The movement had started well within their half, thus making it a nine-pointer in the end.
Shimlas had an early advantage in the set scrums and a penalty won eventually culminated in captain and lock Thabang Mahlasi crashing over near the posts.
Coetzee pulled back three points for Tuks near the half-hour mark to make it 16-11.
Leading by example🙌! @TuksSport captain Lincoln Daniels shows the way with a superb effort for the defending champs to give the stripe generation the lead right after the half time break!#RugbyThatRocks pic.twitter.com/ZyCyGTqeB9— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) April 18, 2022
Five minutes from halftime, Van Heyningen and Bester combined superbly again to set up a try for No 8 Ruwald van der Merwe but Tuks scrumhalf Bernard van der Linde dived over just before the break after good phase play by the forwards.
Coetzee missed the conversion but as the hooter sounded he nailed a penalty to make it 21-19 when the players went into the shed.
Tuks continued their momentum in the second half when centre Lincoln Daniel scored a good solo try, although the Shimlas defence was poor, and his team was 26-21 up after the conversion.
The pressure on Shimlas mounted when hooker Carl Wijberg was sin-binned for pulling a maul down.
It was Tuks’ turn to lose a man when lock Divan Venter was carded but while Shimlas threw everything into the attack, the Tuks defence held firm and when Coetzee kicked a penalty from inside his half to stretch the lead to 29-21 with a quarter of the match left, the home team increasingly looked like a beaten side...
Tuks 29 – Tries: Stefan Coetzee, Bernard van der Linde, Lincoln Daniele. Penalties: Coetzee (4). Conversion: Coetzee.
Shimlas 21 – Tries: Janco van Heyningen, Thabang Mahlasi, Ruwald van der Merwe. Conversion: Litha Nkula