07 April 2022 | Story By Jóhann Thormählen | Photo ASEM Engage, Hannes Naude
The fullback Litha Nkula scored one of four tries for the Shimlas in wet conditions against the University of Pretoria.

They did have a more conservative plan in the soaking wet conditions, but it was the attacking style of the University of the Free State (UFS) Shimlas that shone through.

According to André Tredoux, the Shimlas Head Coach, his players followed their attacking instinct against the University of Pretoria (UP) on Monday to book a spot in the Varsity Cup semi-finals.

And that is also why the UFS is the team that scored the most tries in the tournament.

The team defeated UP 26-15 in trying conditions at Shimla Park and will finish among the top four. This, even though the Shimlas are still playing the Madibaz (Nelson Mandela University) in Gqeberha in their last league encounter on Monday (11 April 2022).

The UFS is at the top of the log (32 points) and will play in its first semi-final since 2019.

Anxious moments

Many would say an expansive approach is risky when it rains, but the Shimlas proved them wrong this week.

“Our vision for the team is to play according to our DNA (attacking rugby),” says Tredoux.

He admits that the wet conditions made them tweak this a bit: “But we still encouraged the players to attack the space that our opponents gave us.”

“Our execution and intensity in the first 34 minutes were superb.”

Six minutes before half-time, his side was leading 19-3 against UP when the game was stopped due to impending lightning. It could have been a bad result if play had not continued, as 40 minutes was needed for a result.

“After the good start, we were quite anxious. We knew that we at least had to play until half-time to get a result.”

Outscoring opponents

It is their philosophy of playing without fear and scoring tries that has helped the Shimlas outscore other Varsity Cup teams.

The UFS scored 48 tries in eight rounds, with the University of Cape Town Ikeys second on 38 tries.

But the Kovsies are also solid on defence, as they have conceded only 21 tries. Only UP (20) conceded less.

There is, however, not too much talk in the Shimla camp about a semi-final yet.

“We are very happy with where we are on the log at the moment.

“We will continue working hard and playing good rugby. But we only focus on the next match,” says Tredoux.

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