Shimlas scored a 78th-minute try on Monday night to seal a crucial bonus-point victory over Tuks and boost their hopes of finishing top of the Varsity Cup table.
In a dramatic game, played on a waterlogged pitch at Shimla Park and disrupted in the first half by lightning, the home side held their nerve to grab a vital 26-15 victory.
Shimlas dominated the first half and took a 19-3 lead into half time, but were on the back foot for most of the second half as Tuks turned to the power of their pack.
The visitors climbed back into the contest through two maul tries: the first scored by lock Mihlali Stamper and the second by replacement hooker Allister Williams. This narrowed the scoreline to 19-15, setting up a tense finish.
However, Shimlas managed to secure possession from the subsequent kick-off and, while replacement scrumhalf Jandre Nel had a potential try ruled out by the TMO, it mattered little as the hosts kept the pressure on. After winning a short-arm penalty from a five-metre scrum and taking the ball through numerous phases, replacement back Kwezi Dlamini reached over from short range to grab the crucial fourth try.
The result keeps Shimlas in first place with a single point as they prepare for the final round trip to the relegated Madibaz. Challengers UCT and Maties face CUT and UWC, respectively.
Tuks, who can finish only as high as third, travel to Johannesburg to face UJ.
Shimlas – Tries: Jooste Nel, Ruwald van der Merwe, Litha Nkula, Kwezi Dlamini. Conversions: Nkula (3).
UP-Tuks – Tries: Mihlali Stamper, Allister Williams. Conversion: Stephan Coetzee. Penalty: Walter Visser.
Shimlas – 15 Litha Nkula, 14 Zane Bester, 13 Janco van Heyningen, 12 Jooste Nel, 11 Asanda Kunene, 10 George Lourens, 9 Chadd Adams, 8 Ruwald van der Merwe, 7 Lourens Oosthuizen, 6 Thabo Ndimande, 5 Thabang Mahlasi (c), 4 Pierre Uys, 3 Blaine Golden, 2 Carl Wijburg, 1 Melusi Mthabela.
Subs: 16 Wihan Marais, 17 Loyiso Peteni, 18 JW Meades, 19 Reinier Viljoen, 20 Nathan Jordan, 21 Jandré Nel, 22 Kwezi Dlamini, 23 Cham Zondeki.
UP-Tuks – 15 Clyde Lewis, 14 Kabelo Mokoena, 13 Zander Reynders, 12 Lincoln Daniels (c), 11 Tharquinn Manuel, 10 Walter Visser, 9 Bernard van der Linde, 8 Orateng Koikanyang, 7 Divan Venter, 6 Stephan Smit, 5 Roald Hattingh, 4 Mihlali Stamper, 3 Francois Klopper, 2 Werner Fourie, 1 Andre van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Allister Williams, 17 Henry Till, 18 Daniel Wessels, 19 Kabasele Nkombua, 20 Dian Schoonees, 21 Chad-Lee Valentine, 22 Stephan Coetzee, 23 Ambesa Zenzile.
Photo: ASEM Engage