FNB UP-Tuks beat FNB UFS-Shimlas 23-12 at Xerox Shimla Park in Bloemfontein last Monday.
Tuks started off slowly, just as they did against FNB UCT-Ikeys a week earlier. Shimlas wing Nico Scheepers slotted two penalties to give them a 4-0 lead after dominating both possession and territory in the first 20 minutes of the game. Tuks fly-half Tian Schoeman replied with a penalty of his own to make the score 4-2.
Tuks began to apply pressure after the first strategy break and regularly breached the defensive line of the Shimlas. Jean Cook scored off the back of a dominant scrum to give Tuks their first try. Schoeman converted the try and Tuks went into half-time with a 10-4 lead.
Shimlas started the second half with a few good passages of play but they failed to capitalise on their efforts. Shimlas lock JC Astle’s yellow card for repeated infringements at the breakdown slowed their momentum.
Tuks settled into their game plan with fullback Clayton Blommetjies and flank Shaun Adendorff, who were standout players for the visitors.
Tuks cemented their lead when eighth man Cook crossed the line for his second try. The resulting conversion attempt from Schoeman was successful. Clayton Blommetjies scored a well-worked try when another Tuks rolling maul allowed the full-back the space he needed to go over in the corner. Schoeman was unsuccessful with his third conversion attempt and Tuks hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi was shown a yellow card for repeated infringements at the breakdown.
Shimlas had the last say of the match when some good interlinking play between the forwards and backs saw hooker Elandre Hugget storm over the try line. Scheepers converted to close the gap to 12-23.
Tuks pushed hard in the final minutes to get their fourth try but could not secure the bonus point.
Head coach Nollis Marais was happy about his team’s performance but worried that they gave away points too easily. “The [number] of penalties we are conceding is a major concern for us and is definitely something that will be worked on during the course of the week,” he said. “Having said that, the team is taking a lot out of the two wins and confidence is high in the camp.”
Photo: Van Zyl Naude