The TUT Vikings and UKZN Impi secured hard-fought wins in the opening round of the Varsity Shield on Monday.
TUT scored a late try to defeat the University of Fort Hare 21-16 in Pretoria. The hosts opened the scoring after a quick tap by Shawn Jaards resulted in a try from captain Hamish Herd. The Blues hit back through Aziyena Mandaba to level matters at 8-8 and then stretched away courtesy of three Sivakele Ulana penalties. But just as it looked like an upset was on the cards, Herd stepped up with another converted try to put his side two points ahead. Ulana kicked a fourth penalty to even things out again, but Vian Riekert's 75th minute effort secured the log points for TUT.
Earlier in the day, UKZN claimed their first win of the season with a scrappy 16-5 victory over Peter de Villiers's UWC in Bellville. Inside centre Marius Louw put UKZN in the ascendancy, when he pounced on a loose ball and powered over the tryline. Flyhalf Innocent Radebe successfully converted to give the visitors an 8-0 lead at the break. Early pressure in the second half paid dividends as Radebe glided through the UWC defence to double the Impi's advantage. UWC responded with wing Gavian Cloete going over for their first score, but there was no further comeback from the hosts, as UKZN went home with four log points.
TUT (21) – Tries: Hamish Herd (2), Vian Riekert. Conversions: Paul Walters (2).
UFH (16) – Try: Aziyena Mandaba. Conversion: Sivakele Ulana. Penalties: Ulana (4).
UWC (5) – Try: Gavian Cloete.
UKZN (16) – Tries: Marius Louw, Innocent Radebe. Conversions: Radebe (2).