KEVIN VAN DER LIST
Tuks crushed Shimlas 48 (24) 18 (10) in a fifth round clash at the TuksRugby Stadium on 5 March. The win means Tuks has maintained its perfect home record in the competition, with three wins in as many matches. Shimlas went into the game under massive pressure, needing to win the game to stand any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. Shimlas are now out of contention for the knock out stages. Tuks’ victory put them in a good position to regain momentum and confidence after the previous week’s narrow defeat against Maties. “We’re very glad, we were going for five points and we got it, but we’re not counting our chickens yet,” said Tuks 1 manager, Morris Gilbert. According to Gilbert, Tuks could have played a better game and that their defence was not up to standard, nor were they clinical in their finishing. We “threw points away” he said. .
Despite this Tuks still managed to score six tries compared to Shimlas’ two. Tuks was fly half Wesley Dunlop’s is also currently the second highest points scorer of the season, with 56 points thus far, including 16 conversions and four penalties. With a 91 % success rate, he last missed a kick in Tuks’ opening game of the season against UJ. Dunlop was quickly called into action in this game when Tuks’ Riaan Britz scored under the posts in the second minute. Not many phases were put together but a quick ball from the back line secured Tuks’s first try. Shimlas’s Reinhardt Erwee responded and scored for the men from Bloemfontein in the eighth minute. During the 20th minute Tuks’ right wing, Deon Helberg, looked to have scored his first try of the game but it was judged a forward pass. Helberg did however score two tries in the game and was named the ‘Player that rocks’. Helberg scored his first try just before the end of the first half where he straightened the line and evaded three defenders. The second half started with a lot more aggression from Tuks as they ran the ball wider. During the 45th minute Riaan Britz went over for his second try of the game. Helberg’s second try of the game came during the 67th minute when his brilliant dummy pass worked to his advantage and resulted in a try. With 10 minutes remaining in the game Shimlas looked to be more aggressive which resulted in a try worked off the back of a maul. However, Shimlas’ night was marred by errors mistakes from set pieces only Tuks’ inability to maximise on all scoring opportunities prevented a far heavier defeat. Shimlas now occupy the second last place on the log, above TUT, having lost four of their five games. Tuks have won four of their last five outings and are in third place below Maties and UJ. With two games remaining before the semi-finals, Tuks will be aiming for a strong end to the season securing a home semi-final. Gilbert stated that they will take it game by game and that they aim to take maximum points from the next two games. Photo: Brad Donald