Shimlas snatch Varsity Cup cracker

Shimlas snatch Varsity Cup cracker

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Replacement loose forward Henri van Eeden scored a last-minute try to give Shimlas a first win in seven years over the defending champions NWU Eagles at Shimla Park.

The victory for Shimlas sees them jump to the top of the table while handing the Eagles their first defeat of the season as they claimed a hard-fought 35-26 win in Bloemfontein on Monday night.

The first half belonged to the hosts, who got off to a fast start with skipper and lock Pierre Uys crossing the whitewash in just the 8th minute. Tries from Kwezi Dlamini and Siya Ningiza followed as they opened up a 21-0 lead.

The Eagles finally got onto the scoreboard shortly before the break, through hooker Chyle van Zyl, off the back of the rolling maul, as the visitors had plenty to do in the second forty.

The second half was a much tighter affair with the Eagles starting to come into the game more and more. Prop Ntobeko Shezi crashed over to close the gap to nine points as they trailed 21-12 entering the final quarter.

Winger Siviwe Zondani claimed the bonus point try for the hosts, but the Eagles would not go away. Replacement scrumhalf Mpho Kubheka darted over minutes later with the game hanging on a knife edge.

Shaun Baxter made it a tied game at 26-26 when he went over with just four minutes left to play, but van Eeden would spoil the comeback as he ran from his own half to score a point of origin try and break Eagles’ hearts.

Shimlas will look to make it three wins on the trot when they host struggling UWC, while NWU will try to bounce back at home against Wits next Monday.

Photo: Hannes Naude

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