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24 April 2024 | Story Anthony Mthembu | Photo Francois van Vuuren
Varsity Cup 2024
The FNB UFS Shimlas are the winners of the 2024 FNB Varsity Cup.

The FNB UFS Shimlas are the winners of the 2024 FNB Varsity Cup. This comes after a 45-42 victory over the FNB UCT Ikeys in the final, which took place on 21 April 2024 at Shimla Park. “It was one of the best matches I have been involved in as a coach; both teams played unbelievable rugby and we are just so pleased to get this great result,” said Andre Tredoux, Head Coach of the FNB UFS Shimlas.

The last time the Shimlas won the title was in 2015. As such, Tredoux indicates that the team is thankful to bring the trophy home. Prof Francis Petersen – Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Free State (UFS) – was also in attendance at the final.  In his congratulatory message, Prof Petersen described the match as a fantastic scene. “The team represented the University of the Free State; they represented one of our key values, which is excellence, but they also showed that sport – in this case rugby – has a social cohesion value,” he said.

The battle for the championship

Tredoux indicates that the match was a tough one, especially when the score stood at 14-0 and 31-19 against the Shimlas. He says the team had to dig deep to find its footing in the game again, considering that they were behind so early in the game. As such, he highlights, “It was a huge effort to get back into the game and keep playing as a team. We really focused on staying in the fight and being connected, as we knew Ikeys would tire in the later stage of the game.”

Subsequent to this monumental victory, he describes the team as having the ‘hearts of champions’ and credits their love and enthusiasm for the game as part of the reason for their success. In fact, one person who exemplifies this is the Shimla scrumhalf Jandre Nel, who was named the FNB Player that Rocks.

Furthermore, Tredoux thanks the UFS community for showing up in their numbers at the game. He also commends his team for working towards this victory, including “Inus Keyser, Mark Nichols, and Edith Maritz – our physiotherapist – for keeping the team healthy, as well as assistant coaches Melusi Mthethwa and Tiaan Liebenberg, and Jerry Laka, Director of Kovsie Sport at the UFS”.

Watch the highlights below:

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