31 December 2018 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Supplied
Johan Kotze
Johan Kotze, captain of the Shimlas, was announced as the club’s best senior player for 2018.

The 2018 rugby year proved to be a reconstructive one for the Shimlas after they parted ways with several members of their team in 2017. A fresh and inexperienced Shimla team, branded as the youngest squad ever, came two log points short of reaching the semi-finals of the Varsity Cup. Ten of the players in the squad were still U19 last year.  

 

Several victories

 

After winning three of their first four encounters, including two away fixtures, the Shimlas were set for a spot in the semi-finals, which could possibly have been a home game. The three victories were against the defending champions Tuks by 19-17, 44-24 against Wits, and a 32-27 win over Ikeys.

The Shimlas played a total of 17 matches in 2018, claiming victory in 12. They finished fourth at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament and won the Mangaung Metro league.

 

Players of the Year

Johan Kotze, Shimla captain and prop, was titled ‘Senior Player of the Year’. In the same breath, Lubabalo Dobela and Rewan Kruger, who both played for the Junior Springboks, were jointly selected as the ‘Junior Players of the Year’.

Vishuis was named the country’s best hostel rugby team for the third consecutive year. They defeated Patria of the North-West University in the finals by 55-29.

The UFS U20 team won all four of their matches in the group stage of the Young Guns competition before they lost to Tuks in the semi-final. The Kovsie Sevens team won the bowl competition at the USSA tournament and at the Varsity Sevens they ended in 6th position.