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2015 Varsity Shield

2015 Varsity Shield
CountriesSouth Africa
Date2 February – 6 April 2015
ChampionsUKZN Impi (1st title)
Runners-upWits
PromotedNone
Matches played21
Tries scored173
(average 8.2 per match)
Top point scorerBrandan Hewitt (133)
Top try scorerJames Verity-Amm (11)
← 2014
2016 →

The 2015 Varsity Shield was contested from 2 February to 6 April 2015. The tournament (also known as the FNB Varsity Shield presented by Steinhoff International for sponsorship reasons) was the fifth season of the Varsity Shield, an annual second-tier inter-university rugby union competition featuring five South African universities.

The tournament was won by UKZN Impi for the first time; they beat Wits 29–24 in the final played on 6 April 2015. No team was promoted to the top-tier Varsity Cup competition for 2016.

Competition rules and information

There were five participating universities in the 2015 Varsity Shield. These teams played each other twice over the course of the season, once at home and once away.

Teams received four points for a win and two points for a draw. Bonus points were awarded to teams that scored four or more tries in a game, as well as to teams that lost a match by seven points or less. Teams were ranked by log points, then points difference (points scored less points conceded).

The top two teams qualified for the title play-offs. The team that finished first had home advantage against the team that finished second.

There was no promotion/relegation between the Varsity Cup and the Varsity Shield at the end of 2015.

The 2015 Varsity Shield used a different scoring system than the common scoring system. Tries were worth five points as usual, but conversions were worth three points instead of two, while penalties and drop goals were only worth two points instead of three.[1]

Teams

2015 Varsity Shield is located in South Africa
Location of teams in the 2015 Varsity Shield

The following teams took part in the 2015 Varsity Shield competition:

2015 Varsity Shield teams
Team Name University Stadium
TUT Vikings Tshwane University of Technology TUT Stadium, Pretoria
UFH Blues University of Fort Hare Davidson Rugby Field, Alice
UKZN Impi University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Rugby Stadium, Durban
Peter Booysen Sports Park, Pietermaritzburg
UWC University of the Western Cape UWC Sport Stadium, Cape Town
Wits University of the Witwatersrand Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg

Standings

The final league standings for the 2015 Varsity Shield were:[2]

2015 Varsity Shield standings
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Wits 8 6 2 0 407 162 +245 55 23 7 0 35
2 UKZN Impi 8 6 0 2 273 165 +108 39 23 4 0 28
3 UWC 8 4 2 2 259 165 +94 37 23 4 0 24
4 UFH Blues 8 2 0 6 108 320 –212 15 45 4 0 12
5 TUT Vikings 8 0 0 8 133 368 –235 20 52 2 1 3

Round-by-round

The table below shows each team's progression throughout the season. For each round, their cumulative points total is shown with the overall log position in brackets:

Team Progression – 2015 Varsity Shield
Team R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 Final
Wits 0
(3rd)
5
(2nd)
10
(1st)
15
(1st)
18
(1st)
18
(1st)
23
(1st)
28
(1st)
33
(1st)
35
(1st)
Lost
UKZN Impi 4
(2nd)
9
(1st)
9
(2nd)
9
(2nd)
13
(2nd)
17
(2nd)
22
(2nd)
23
(2nd)
23
(2nd)
28
(2nd)
Won
UWC 0
(5th)
0
(4th)
4
(4th)
9
(3rd)
12
(3rd)
12
(3rd)
12
(3rd)
17
(3rd)
22
(3rd)
24
(3rd)
N/A
UFH Blues 5
(1st)
5
(3rd)
5
(3rd)
6
(4th)
6
(4th)
11
(4th)
11
(4th)
11
(4th)
11
(4th)
11
(4th)
N/A
TUT Vikings 0
(3rd)
0
(5th)
1
(5th)
2
(5th)
2
(5th)
2
(5th)
3
(5th)
3
(5th)
3
(5th)
3
(5th)
N/A
Key: win draw loss bye

Fixtures

The 2015 Varsity Shield fixtures were released as follows:

  • All times are South African (GMT+2).

Round One

The TUT Vikings hooker and captain Hamish Herd scored two tries to help his side to a 21–16 victory over UFH Blues in Pretoria to initially end the round in second spot. However, this result was later expunged and the fixture was awarded as a win to UFH Blues, with a scoreline of 0–0. This meant that UFH Blues moved into topped the log after Round One. The UKZN Impi moved into second spot on the log following a 16–5 victory over UWC in Cape Town, with fly-half Inny Radebe scoring a try and two conversions for the away side, ahead of joint-third sides TUT Vikings and newly relegated Wits who had a bye in this round. UWC were bottom of the log after the first round.[3]

Bye/s: Wits

Round Two

A hat-trick from centre Marcel Coetzee helped UKZN Impi to a comprehensive 68–5 victory over TUT Vikings to increase their lead at the top of the log to four points, with TUT dropping to bottom of the log. Wits played their first match of the campaign and ran out comfortable 39–24 winners over UFH Blues, with braces by Ish Nkolo and Constant Beckerling for the side from Johannesburg. Wits moved into second place on the log while UFH dropped down to third after suffering their first defeat of the season. UWC had a bye this round and remained in fourth spot on the log.

Bye/s: UWC

Round Three

Braces from Constant Beckerling and Tommy Damba helped Wits emerge victorious from the top-two clash against UKZN Impi, with a comprehensive 56–13 win – their second away win in a row – to move them to the top of the log and with a game in hand over UKZN. UWC moved up to third on the log by beating bottom side TUT Vikings 21–18 in Pretoria, with a two-try haul from Damian Stevens proving decisive. UWC leap-frogged UFH Blues, who dropped to fourth spot after a bye in Round Three.

Bye/s: UFH Blues

Round Four

The top-versus-bottom match between Wits and TUT Vikings went according to form, with Wits running out 71–36 winners to extend their lead at the top to six points. They ran in ten tries, with Tommy Damba, Ferdinand Kelly and Luxolo Ntsepe getting a brace each, while fly-half Brandan Hewitt scored one of their tries and slotted seven conversions. In the other match, UWC moved level on points with second-placed UKZN Impi who had a bye round, securing an eight-try victory over UFH Blues and running out 49–34 winners with James Verity-Amm grabbing a hat-trick of tries. Both of the losing sides, UFH Blues and TUT Vikings, picked up a bonus point for scoring five tries in their matches, but remained in fourth and fifth respectively.

Bye/s: UKZN Impi

Round Five

League leaders Wits dropped their first points of the season after they were held to a 37–all draw by third-placed UWC in Johannesburg. Wits were leading 37–16 after 55 minutes, but UWC responded with three more tries late in the game to level things up, with winger James Verity-Amm scoring a second consecutive hat-trick after also getting one in Round Four against UFH Blues. UKZN Impi took advantage of their main rivals drawing to secure a 21–13 victory over UFH, which saw them remain in second, but closed the gap to league leaders Wits to five points. UWC finished Round Five a further point behind UKZN, with UFH Blues remaining in fourth spot and TUT Vikings, who did not play this round, staying in fifth at the halfway point of the regular season.

Bye/s: TUT Vikings

Round Six

With top-placed side Wits having a bye weekend, they saw their lead at the top reduced to just a single point from UKZN Impi, who ran out 21–5 winners over third-placed UWC. UFH Blues secured their second victory of the season, beating TUT Vikings 29–18 in Alice to also pick up a bonus point for scoring four tries. Their log positions remained unchanged, however, with UFH Blues still in fourth and TUT Vikings in last place with two log points.

Bye/s: Wits

Round Seven

After their bye in Round Six, leaders Wits returned to form in spectacular style, running in twelve tries in a 93–0 demolition of UFH Blues in Johannesburg. Luxolo Ntsepe scored a hat-trick, while Constant Beckerling and Josh Jarvis got two tries apiece and fly-half Brandan Hewitt scored one try and nine conversions for a personal points tally of 32 points. Second-placed UKZN Impi kept the pressure on Wits however, scoring nine tries in their 66–41 victory over TUT Vikings to remain just one point behind Wits on the log. Marius Louw grabbed a hat-trick in their victory and Spa Dube contributed 21 points with the boot. UWC remained in third place in the league with their bye, while TUT's four-try bonus point wasn't enough to move them ahead of fourth-placed UFH Blues.

Bye/s: UWC

Round Eight

Hosts Wits emerged victorious in the match between the top two teams in the league, beating UKZN Impi 40–26 to extend their lead at the top of the log to four points. Both teams picked up a four-try bonus point in the match that was only settled with a last-minute Tommy Damba try. This result also meant that Wits secured their place in the final of the competition. UWC kept up their attempt to clinch the other spot in the final by beating TUT Vikings 63–10 in Cape Town. They ran in nine tries, with Quaid Langeveldt, James Verity-Amm and Gordon-Wayne Plaatjes getting a brace each. This result saw them close the gap to second-placed UKZN to six points, with a game in hand. A bye round for UFH Blues saw them remain in fourth spot, well clear of bottom side TUT Vikings.

Bye/s: UFH Blues

Round Nine

With their sixth win of the season, Wits ensured that they would finish the regular season top of the log, which meant that the final would be played in Johannesburg. They ran out 50–5 winners over TUT Vikings with two tries apiece from Tommy Damba and Koch Marx. The identity of their opposition in the final was still unknown, since second-placed UKZN Impi had a bye, which saw UWC reduce the gap to just one point. UWC ran out 58–8 winners over UFH Blues with James Verity-Amm getting his third hat-trick of the season and take his try tally up to eleven in just six appearances. That result also ensured that UFH Blues would finish the season in fourth spot with TUT Vikings guaranteed to finish bottom of the log.

Bye/s: UKZN Impi

Round Ten

The final line-up was completed as UKZN Impi joined already-qualified Wits in the final. A hat-trick from centre Marius Louw secured a 42–0 victory for UKZN over fourth-placed UFH Blues in Durban to ensure the side finished second on the log. Meanwhile, log leaders Wits and third-placed UWC played out their second draw of the season, with their match finishing 21–all in Cape Town after drawing 37–all in their Round Five match in Johannesburg. TUT Vikings had a bye round and finished bottom of the log.

Bye/s: TUT Vikings

Final

The 2015 Varsity Shield was won by UKZN Impi, who won their first ever title after handing Wits their first defeat of the season; a 29–24 defeat in the match played in Johannesburg. UKZN Impi took the lead fifteen minute in through captain Lwazi Ngcungama and didn't relinquish it for the remainder of the match. Fly-half Inny Radebe was the top scorer in the match with eleven points.

Honours

The honour roll for the 2015 Varsity Shield was as follows:

2015 Varsity Shield Honours
Champions: UKZN Impi
Player That Rocks: Lwazi Ngcungama, UKZN Impi
Forward That Rocks:
Back That Rocks:
Top Try Scorer: James Verity-Amm, UWC (11)
Top Points Scorer: Brandan Hewitt, Wits (133)

Players

Player statistics

The following table contain points which were scored in the 2015 Varsity Shield:[46]

Top Ten points scorers
No Player Team T C P DG Pts
1 Brandan Hewitt Wits 2 41 0 0 133
2 Spa Dube UKZN Impi 3 21 0 0 78
3 Quaid Langeveldt UWC 7 8 0 0 59
4 James Verity-Amm UWC 11 0 0 0 55
5 Tommy Damba Wits 10 0 0 0 50
6 Constant Beckerling Wits 9 0 0 0 45
7 Inny Radebe UKZN Impi 4 8 0 0 44
8 Marius Louw UKZN Impi 8 0 0 0 40
9 Darian Hock UWC 0 12 0 0 36
10 Sivakele Ulana UFH Blues 1 6 4 0 31

Squad lists

The teams released the following squad lists:

Discipline

The following table contains all the cards handed out during the tournament:[52]

Sendings-off and multiple sin-binnings
Player Team Red card Temporarily suspended
Brandon Beukman UWC 1 0
Heynes Kotze UWC 1 0
Aziyena Mandaba UFH Blues 1 0
Siphesihle Punguzwa UFH Blues 0 4
Lwando Nteta UFH Blues 0 2

Referees

The following referees officiated matches in the 2015 Varsity Shield:

See also

References

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External links