Varsity Shield Final: CPUT Retain FNB Crown In Extra-Time Thriller
Staff Writer , 10 May 2021
In one of the most exciting finals the Varsity Shield has ever seen, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Tekkies defended their title as champions in extra time, defeating Walter Sisulu University (WSU) 30-26 in a pulsating encounter at Tuks Stadium in Pretoria on Sunday.
Their good run in the competition is music to the ears of Cape Town rugby fanatics, as it puts the team in a good position to achieve their goal of winning promotion to the Varsity Cup when promotion takes place next season, and showing off their skills in SA’s premier university rugby league.
CPUT Tekkies came out all guns blazing on Sunday, and had a very comfortable 23-6 lead midway through the second half. WSU looked dead and buried…but the Eastern Cape outfit fought back with spirit to level matters, forcing the game to go to extra time.
They used that time well, and WSU gave the CPUT boys a fright when Captain Litha Nkula slotted a penalty within three minutes, to take the lead for the first time as the match was drawing to a close.
But it was CPUT winger Nathan Nkutu who would determine the defending champions’ fortune, racing into the right-hand corner to score the match-winning try. Flyhalf Feghon-Leigh Snyders added the conversion, putting the cherry on the top of a well-earned victory.
The moment Nathan Nkutu won the FNB Varsity Shield final for @CPUT in the last minute of extra time 😮🏉
— Varsity Shield (@varsityshield) May 9, 2021
It’s the second consecutive season that the Capetonians took home the second-tier university competition in the country, following their 32-28 exploits over Madibaz in the 2019 final…and who knows what would have happened if there hadn’t been a very good pandemic-related reason not to finish the 2020 season?
Meanwhile Tekkies Number Sesona Macala has won the 2021 FNB Varsity Shield Overall Player That Rocks award. Macala showcased his strength and speed during this year’s FNB Varsity Shield tournament, scoring three tries, including a memorable brace against the FNB TUT Vikings., and saw off the challenge of FNB WSU lock Hlomla Payi and FNB TUT Vikings flyhalf Lusanda Xakwana in a public vote on the Varsity Cup’s Facebook page.
Also at the awards ceremony, CPUT hooker Siyasanga Ngubelanga won the FNB Forward That Rocks award, for which Macala was also nominated for.
It’s an exciting conclusion to the Varsity Shield tournament…but university rugby isn’t done yet. Over in the Varsity Cup, the Western Cape’s other three universities will be in action again from 17 May, when they enter their third and last bio-bubble, with three games remaining. Ikey Tigers of UCT and Maties of Stellenbosch University are vying for places in the knockouts while the University of the Western Cape is fighting to maintain its place in the premier university competition in the country. Stay tuned for more!