UWC players during a strategy break against Fort Hare on Thursday night at UWC Stadium in Bellville. Photo: @VarsityShield via Twitter

UWC made history in Cape Town as they defeated University of Fort Hare 39-18 to win not only their Varsity Shield contest, but promotion to the Varsity Cup as well.

The hosts got off to a great start after sustained pressure led to hooker Justin Theys barging his way over the tryline.

Lyle Hendricks converted to give his side an 8-0 lead.

Fullback Tristan Leyds got his side’s second converted try via a break through the middle of the field, extending his side’s lead to 16-0 after seven minutes.

The visitors responded in the 12th minute through a well-worked try from Lonwabo Ntsundwane, who would have been disappointed to see the conversion missed.

UWC distanced themselves even further with a try from Mark Bright, which took his side to 24 points after the conversion.

Sokhaba Mpemba pulled one back for Fort Hare, but Reece Bocks ensured UWC had the final say of the half with an immediate response on the stroke of halftime, taking the scores to 29-13 at the break.

Speedster Kurt-Lee Arendse was not to be left out the action as the winger bagged a try of his own in the 44th minute. Hendricks failed to convert, leaving the score at 34-13. 

The visitors refused to go down without a fight, and Sibongile Novuka flew down the wing for his own five-pointer. Richards’ conversion went wide as the hosts maintained a 34-18 lead with 15 minutes remaining on the clock.

UWC were smelling blood and continued to threaten the UFH line. Alwyn Carstens broke the visitors’ resistance with his first try of the night.

Unfortunately, the conversion was missed, leaving the score at 39-18 with 10 minutes remaining at the UWC Stadium in Bellville.

The hosts managed to hold on and claim their most important victory yet, earning them promotion to the Varsity Cup.


UWC 39 – Tries: Jacques van Zyl, Tristan Leyds, Mark Bright, Reece Bocks, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Alwyn Carstens. Conversions: Lyle Hendricks (3).

UFH 18 – Tries: Lonwabo Ntsundwani, Sokhana Mpemba, Sibongile Novuka. Conversion: Keenan Richards (1).

Varsity Cup