FNB UFS-Shimlas Young Guns secured a tense 34-31 victory over NWU-Pukke in an entertaining match in Bloemfontein on Monday.
Both teams scored five tries each in a flowing exhibition of running rugby, and in the end just one conversion separated the teams.
The home side were first to score when flank Sihle Ngxabi went over for the opening try, but NWU-Pukke responded with a try of their own from tighthead prop Gawie Liebenberg to level it up at 5-5.
In the evenly-matched encounter the Young Shimlas scored their second try just on the tactical break after 20 minutes play. Both teams won good clean ball, but the homeside used it better with flyhalf Warren Potgieter keeping his opponents quessing whether he is goning to use his backline or forwards.
Shimlas No.8 Henco Greyling scored the try after a lineput and driving maul and Potgieter convertedto make it 13-5.
Shimlas centre Johan Peens got over for his team's third try, but Pukke got right back into it with two tries just before half-time.
Scrumhalf Pieter Smith scored in the corner for Pukke after a quick tap penalty in midfield by flyhalf Kobus du Plessis.
On the halftime hooter right wing Eswyn Heyns, and the visitors trailed 18-15 at the break.
Pukke took the lead for the first time in the match when Du Plessis went over for their bonus-point try and duly converted, but the home side hit back with two tries of their own from wing Vuyani Maqina and fullback Jannie Strumpher, and despite a late try from Pukke replacement scrumhalf Chriswill September the home side held on for a tight win.
For FNB UFS-Shimlas Young Guns:
Tries: Ngxabi, Greyling, Peens, Maqina, Meyer
Cons: Potgieter, Strumpher 2
For FNB NWU-Pukke Young Guns:
Tries: Liebenberg, Smith, Heyns, Du Plessis, September
Cons: Du Plessis, Hugo
UFS-Shimlas Young Guns: 15 Jannie Strumpher, 14 Tertius Kruger, 13 Francois Pretorius, 12 Johan Peens, 11 Vuyani Maqina, 10 Warren Potgieter, 9 Mtokozisi Mkhabela, 8 Henco Greyling, 7 Sihle Ngxabi, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Philip Du Preez, 4 Andre Venter, 3 Petrus Senekal, 2 Markus Odendaal, 1 Martin Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Hennie Theron, 18 Gilbert Chalmers, 19 Stefan Gouws, 20 Renaldo Meyer, 21 Charlton Koopman, 22 Kyle Leukes, 23 Henco van der Westhuizen.
NWU-Pukke Young Guns: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Eswyn Heyns, 13 Jaap Pienaar, 12 Marnus Tack, 11 Ryno Wepener, 10 Kobus Du Plessis, 9 Pieter Smith, 8 Jaco Buys, 7 Dean Basson, 6 Loftus Morrison, 5 Emile Odendaal, 4 Alex Du Plooy, 3 Gawie Liebenberg, 2 Thomas Dreyer, 1 Reginald Standers.
Replacements: 16 Mark Reinecke, 17 Wynand Breytenbach, 18 Durren Filies, 19 Tiaan Liebenberg, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Schalk Hugo, 22 Eswyn Heyns, 23 Jandré Venter.
Referee: Pieter Janse van Vuuren