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Young Shimla team reach Varsity Cup semi-final
2017-03-29

Description: Young Shimla team reach Varsity Cup semi-final Tags: Young Shimla team reach Varsity Cup semi-final

The Shimlas will be hoping that some of their stars,
like the brilliant flanker Phumzile Maqondwana, will be
on form in the 2017 Varsity Cup semi-final against
Tuks in Pretoria.
Photo: Johan Roux

The pressure in the Varsity Cup semi-final is on Tuks, which will be reason enough for Shimlas to play with freedom.

This is according to Jaco Swanepoel, Shimla assistant coach, on the big challenge awaiting his young rugby team in Pretoria on 3 April 2017. He says because Tuks are the favourites, it could be to the advantage of the visitors. Maties and the University of Johannesburg are playing in the other semi-final in Stellenbosch on the same day.

Tuks did Shimlas a favour
Tuks’ victory of 43-28 over the Pukke in Potchefstroom on 27 March 2017 helped the Shimlas, who had a bye, to end fourth on the log with 23 league points.
Shimlas had to make use of several new players this year, and few experts would have given them a chance of reaching the semi-finals. Swanepoel says although they are proud of this achievement, only a place among the top four was never their end-goal.
    
Good to be the underdog

The Shimlas lost their league match against Tuks in Bloemfontein with 19-65. This, as well as the fact that Tuks was at the top of the log with 34 league points, underlines the huge task ahead.
“The previous result (against Tuks) is encouragement for the players to show: We aren’t that much worse than Tuks,” says Swanepoel. “Perhaps it is good to be the underdog. We actually have no pressure on us and I hope the players feel the same way.”

Three teams in knockout matches
All three Varsity Cup teams from the University of the Free State (UFS) reached the knockout matches. Apart from Shimlas, the UFS Young Guns played against Tuks in a semi-final in Bloemfontein on 27 March 2017, but lost by 21-45. On 17 April 2017, Vishuis will meet the Puk’s Patria in the residence finals.

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