Defending Varsity Shield champions CUT secured a hard-fought 26-25 victory after UKZN failed to convert a last-minute try.
The second Varsity Shield game of the day saw UWC put on a composed performance to defeat Fort Hare 26-8.
CUT 26 UKZN 25
One try a-piece from each team put the scoreline at 10-10 at the first half, but it was John Mitchell's UKZN that made the impact in the first stages of the second half.
The visitors made it a 10-point lead when wing Shayne Makombe claimed a box kick from Wright and rounded CUT skipper Kholo Ramashala to score under the poles.
Two late CUT tries put the home side back into the lead at 26-20, but a last-minute try from UKZN put the game on a knife-edge. Impi flyhalf Brandon Cope was unable to land the touchline conversion, missing out on the chance to defeat the defending champs.
CUT – Tries: Noel Marx, Danie van der Merwe, Johan van Schalkwyk. Conversions: Noel Marx (3). Penalty: Marx.
UKZN – Tries: Stefan van Schalkwyk, Shayne Makombe (2). Conversions: Brandon Cope (2). Penalties: Cope (2).
CUT – 15 Kholo Ramashala, 14 Alec Mhlango, 13 Johan van Schalkwyk, 12 Charles Hitchcock, 11 Duan Pretorius, 10 Noel Marx, 9 Marius Grobler, 8 Juan Hugo, 7 Frans Sisita, 6 Bolofo Mokoea, 5 Fanie Coetzer, 4 Lyvette Shikwambana, 3 Danie Van der Merwe, 2 Deon Gouws, 1 Len Noort.
Subs: 16 Gerhard Baard, 17 Carl Gersbach, 18 Ian Van Wyk, 19 Vincent Maruping, 20 Stephan Griesel, 21 Mosego Toolo, 22 Dean Kouprihanoff, 23 Hanro Liebenberg.
UKZN – 15 Brandon Bailing, 14 Shayne Makombe, 13 Hendrik Lategan, 12 Garath Meikle, 11 Hendrik Groenewald, 10 Brandon Cope, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Deon Carney, 7 Zwela Zondi, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama (captain), 5 Johan Wagenaar, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Henri Boshoff
Subs: 16 Matthew Mandioma, 17 Leon Mulder, 18 Adam Wessels, 19 Sanele Malwane, 20 Nelson Makhanye, 21 Gavin Nyawata, 22 Mondli Ntshingila, 23 Sizwe Kuhbeka.
UWC 26 UFH 8
UWC drew first blood as Kenwin Wiener got a great pass from Dale van Schalkwyk to put his team 8-0 up.
UWC skipper Freddie Muller then slotted a penalty to give his side a 10-0 half-time lead.
Fort Hare hit back in the second half, with flyhalf Oliver Zono scrambling over in the corner to reduce UWC's lead to 12-8.
Fort Hare made life hard for themselves when Siyabulela Sijula and Onke Dubase were yellow carded for repeated infringements and a professional foul respectively, in the final 10 minutes.
The visitors made the extra men count in the closing stages as good work from Van Schalkwyk put fullback James Verity-Amm over to score near the corner flag, before tighthead prop Brandon Beukman broke away from a rolling maul and timed his offload well to send Jose Julies over for their third try.
Fort Hare – Try: Oliver Zono. Conversion: Zono.
UWC – Tries: Kenwin Wiener, James Verity-Amm, Jose Julies. Conversions: Dale van Schalkwyk. Penalties: Freddie Muller (4).
UFH – 15 Saneliso Ngoma, 14 Garth van Rayner, 13 Lundi Ralarala, 12 Mgwadleka Lithabile, 11 Sonqishe Mkhululi, 10 Oliver Zono, 9 Bangihlombe Kobese, 8 Manentsa Athi, 7 Billy Dutton (c), 6 Onke Dubase, 5 Masixole David, 4 Mzwandile Yalezo, 3 Xola Mapapu, 2 Thembelihle Mpapha, 1 Lwando Mabenge
Subs: 16 Madoda Ludidi, 17 Siyabulela Sijula, 18 Olwethu Mputla, 19 Ntyatyambo Mkhafu, 20 Andile Makinana, 21 Sibabalwe Mtsulwana, 22 Khanyiso Komani, 23 Sibabalwe Tshoni.
UWC – 15 James Verity-Amm, 14 Quaid Langeveldt, 13 Kenwin Wiener, 12 Yondela Stampu, 11 Minenhle Mthethwa, 10 Dale van Schalkwyk, 9 Freddie Muller (c), 8 Heinrich Marcus, 7 Njabulo Ndlovu, 6 Matthew Faught, 5 Jose Julies, 4 Pallo Manuel, 3 Brandon Beukman, 2 Timothy Louw, 1 Kelvin de Bruyn.
Subs: 16 Michael Mkhize, 17 Tahriq Allen, 18 Sebenza Maphumulo, 19 Samuel Borsah, 20 Dumisani Dyonase, 21 Melikhaya Wana, 22 Keanu Langeveldt, 23 Philbrey Joseph.
Varsity Rugby scoring system – tries: five points; conversions: three points; penalties and drop goals: two points.
Photo: Varsity Cup