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31 January 2018 Photo FNB Varsity Cup
Perfect start to Varsity Cup for Shimlas
Lubabalo Dobela, Shimlas flyhalf (with the ball), played a key role in the Shimlas’ win over Tuks in the first round of the 2018 Varsity Cup.

The Shimlas made a huge statement in their opening match of the 2018 Varsity Cup when they defeated last year’s champions at the Tuks Rugby Stadium in Pretoria.

The Free State students won the encounter against Tuks by 19-17 on Monday.

Tuks, who beat Shimlas twice last year, first in the group stage by 65-19, and then by 28-21 in the semifinals, were regarded as the hot favourites. The match was played in wet conditions which many thought would suit the home team better.   

Determination carries team to win
But a young and inexperienced Shimlas team with 11 players making their debut in the competition proved that big hearts and guts count for just as much. It was only their third win in Pretoria in the 11th year of the competition and their second victory over Tuks since 2012.

As expected, both teams tightened up their approach. Shimlas struck back from a 0-5 deficit soon after the first strategy break as big and speedy wing Francois Agenbag stormed down the touchline to score a seven-point try. Flyhalf Lubabalo Dobela was on hand to convert and hand his team a 9-5 lead at the break.

Flyhalf stars in debut
The Shimlas extended their lead within five minutes of the restart as flank Benji Janse van Vuuren crashed over in the corner for a converted try. Dobela, one of the debutants who was named Player that Rocks (Player of the Match), controlled the match like a seasoned veteran. Apart from two difficult conversions from the touchline, he also slotted a penalty goal.

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