Tuks power past Shimlas
Tuks produced a powerful display in Bloemfontein to secure a comfortable 23-12 victory over Shimlas on Monday.
The defending champions outscored their hosts by three tries to one to take a valuable away win against the dangerous Free State side.
The home team made the early running and dominated both territory and possession as Tuks were forced to defend. Two penalties from wing Nico Scheepers saw Shimlas take a 4-0 lead, but it was the visitors who would take the lead into half-time.
The powerful Tuks pack took control of the game, and after an extended period of dominance they were rewarded with a pushover try to impressive No.8 Jean Cook.
Tuks opened their account through a penalty from flyhalf Tiaan Schoeman, and they had the lead soon afterwards when Cook crashed over after a big shove on the Shimlas tryline.
The Pretoria side took that 10-4 lead into half-time, and they received a further boost shortly after the break when Shimlas lock JC Astle was shown a yellow card for repeated infringements.
They took advantage straight away when a driving maul from the ensuing penalty saw Cook go over for his second try to extend Tuks' lead to 18-4.
They were not done there and another powerful maul created some space out wide for flying fullback Clayton Blommetjies to dive over in the corner for Tuks' third try which stretched their lead to 23-4 at the second strategy break.
With Astle back on the field it was the visitors who were reduced to 14 men when hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi was shown a yellow card.
Shimlas responded by storming into the opposition 22 where hooker Elandre Hugget finished off an impressive team try which saw some breathtaking handling skills by both forwards and backs.
Tuks pushed hard in the final stages as they searched for a bonus-point try, and came desperately close at times but it was not to be and they had to be satisfied with four log points whilst UFS-Shimlas were left to reflect on their second consecutive defeat at home after losing to FNB Maties last week.
Pens: Scheepers 2
Tries: Cook 2, Blommetjies
Cons: Schoeman 2
Yellow cards: Astle (Repeated infringements, 50 mins) Mbonambi (Repeated infringements, 61 mins)
Shimlas: 15 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Reinhardt Erwee, 12 Thys Smit, 11 Maphutha Dolo, 10 Francois du Toit, 9 Renier Botha, 8 Erik le Roux, 7 Teboho Mohoje (captain), 6 Freddie Ngoza, 5 JC Astle, 4 Fanie van der Walt, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Elandre Hugget, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 JC van Wyk, 17 Franco van der Merwe, 18 Henco Venter, 19 Niell Jordaan, 20 Hlanlha Hlongwane, 21 Earl Snyman, 22 Divandre Strydom, 23 Luan de Bruin.
Tuks: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Riaan Britz, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Christopher Bosch, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg (captain), 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Mike Williams, 3 Hencus Van Wyk, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Sabelo Nhlapo.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Schalk Van Heerden, 19 Jacques Verwey, 20 Clayton Stewart, 21 Handre Pollard, 22 Piet Lindeque, 23 Christoph Gouws.
Referee: Tiaan Jonker