Centurion — The University of Free State Shimlas completed a surprise 50-28 over the much-fancied University of Stellenbosch Maties at Shimla Park, in Bloemfontein, on Monday.
In a high-scoring affair, it would be the hosts which ran riot on the night as they outscored their visitors by seven tries to four for a full haul of five points.
With Shimlas dictating the early exchanges, flank Thabo Ndimande burst through a tackle just outside the 22 before fobbing off two Maties defenders and diving over for the opening score of the clash in the fourth minute. Flyhalf George Lourens slotted the conversion to make it 7-0.
A minute later, Maties scored their first points of the clash through a Jurie Matthee penalty from in front to make it 7-3.
Shimlas scored their second in the 13th minute from a close-range rolling maul, with Ndimande bagging his second in quick time. Fullback Litha Nkula was on target with the conversion to increase his side’s lead to 11 with the score at 14-3.
Matthee added another penalty in the 18th minute to make it 14-6.
Shimlas scored their third try following a line out five metres out, with flank Thabang Mahlasi driving the ball over the line. Nkula missed the conversion from the touchline, but Shimlas were already out to a 19-6 lead.
Maties hit back with their first try of the evening from hooker Chris Rossouw on the half hour mark. Matthee missed the conversion, as the score remained 19-11 in favour of the hosts.
Shimlas lock Nathan Jordan barged his way over from close range after some good build-up play, with Nkula adding the conversion from in front to make it 26-11 just before the break.
FULL TIME and scenes in Bloem as the @UFSweb Shimlas have put on a dazzling display to beat @MatiesSport in front of a delighted home crowd🔥![CDATA]>🙌!— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) February 21, 2022
FNB UFS 50 - 28 FNB Maties#RugbyThatRocks brought to you by @FNBSA and @SteersSA pic.twitter.com/bAjTHlFFgi
After winning a number of penalties in the Maties 22, Ndimande collected his third try of the evening. Nkula missed the conversion, but Shimlas had increased their lead to 31-11 with half an hour remaining in the clash.
Maties responded with their second try as replacement hooker Sean Swart dived over from a rolling maul. Matthee was crucially wayward with the attempted conversion, as the visitors were still 15 points behind with 25 minutes remaining at 31-16 down.
Flank De Wet Marais scored the third try for Maties through a quick tap penalty, after they had camped in the Shimlas 22. The conversion was missed again, but Maties inched closer to Shimlas at 31-21 down with just over 12 minutes left.
Shimlas replied with a stunning piece of counter-attack play from inside their own half, with Lourens ending the move off for a seven-point try as a Point Of Origin (POR) reward. Nkula nailed the conversion with his side out to a 40-21 lead in the dying stages of the match.
Wow😲![CDATA]>🤩! George Lourens sends the Bloem crowd into a frenzy! With two players in the bin the @UFSweb counterattack did this against the maroon machine!#RugbyThatRocks pic.twitter.com/XdyXlQZrMv— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) February 21, 2022
Maties, however, were not done yet as flank Gift Dlamini finished off a number of probing phases in the Shimlas 22 with a try under the posts. Matthee nudged over the extra two to make it 40-28 with 76 minutes played.
Nkula put Shimlas further ahead again, with a penalty to make it 43-28 with just over two minutes left.
As the hooter sounded, Shimlas with the ball decided not to end the match but surged forward in the Maties 22 before replacement scrumhalf Jandre Nel dived over for a try in the corner to seal an emphatic half-century score for his team as they triumphed 50-28.
Shimlas — 50 (26): Tries: Thabo Ndimande (3), Thabang Mahlasi, Nathan Jordan, George Lourens (POR), Jandre Nel. Conversions: Lourens (2), Litha Nkula (3). Penalty: Nkula
Maties — 28 (11): Tries: Chris Rossouw, Sean Swart, De Wet Marais, Gift Dlamini. Conversion: Jurie Matthee. Penalties: Matthee (2)