Wits sneak into Varsity Cup

Wits picked up a surprise 19-17 win over CUT in the Varsity Shield final and gain automatic promotion to the Varsity Cup.

It was a close contest at the death in Bloemfontein as CUT trailed Wits by two points after a late try, but the visitors held on to their slender lead and recorded an impressive comeback victory. Wits now replace TUT in the Varsity Cup, while CUT will face UCT in a promotion-relegation play-off next week.

Wits had to overcome a 10-2 deficit in the first quarter as wing Alec Mhlanga and the boot of flyhalf Jannie Myburgh gave the hosts an early advantage. CUT then lost their ascendancy later in the opening 40, and continuous pressure in their red zone saw outside centre Bronson Lange and lock Rinus Bothma secure the students from Johannesburg a 15-10 lead at the break.

Wits flyhalf Kyle Peyper extended his team’s buffer to nine points with two penalties in the second stanza. CUT reserve hooker Danie van der Merwe powered through from close range in the 69th minute, but his side couldn’t find a match-winning score at the death as Wits celebrated victory.

By Gareth Duncan