Makombe wins Varsity Shield gong

HARARE - Zimbabwean rugby player Shayne Makombe won the FNB Varsity Shield ‘Back That Rocked’ award on Monday after a stellar debut season with University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) Impi side.

Although Makombe and Impi’s season ended in heartbreak after the 35-26 Varsity Shield final defeat to FNB Central University of Technology (CUT) Ixias in Bloemfontein, the Zimbabwean had reasons to smile.

“Thank you everyone that voted for me, was awarded the ‘Back That Rocks’ last night. Nothing but the grace of God,” Makombe tweeted yesterday.

The gong carried with it a cash prize of R3 750.

The former Churchill Bulldogs skipper, who is studying for a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree at UKZN, won the award after receiving most of the votes in a poll that was running from last week.

The voting process was split between the public, the players and the Varsity Cup Exco.

The public was allowed to vote for the award through the Varsity Cup Facebook page which made e up 40 percent of the total, with one vote per person in each category.

The players themselves voted for each category as well, with their input comprising 30 percent of the total, whilst the Varsity Cup Exco’s votes will also count 30 percent.

Makombe was nominated for the award together with Freddie Muller (UWC), Garth van Rayner (UFH), Oliver Zono (UFH) and James Verity-Amm (UWC).

Makombe and Impi now turn their attention to next week’s promotion/relegation game against FNB University of Johannesburg in Potchefstroom.

Turning to Monday’s final, Impi had a strong wind at their back in the first half but it was the Ixias who got the early territory with clever kicking from scrumhalf Stephan Griesel.

It was a nervy start from both sides in such an important game and it showed, with unforced errors littering the early exchanges.

The men from KwaZulu-Natal were guilty of more mistakes and the Ixias were aggressive at the breakdowns and the turnovers began to hurt the Impi.

The home side were able to make less of the mistakes and won promotion to play in the varsity Cup next year while Impi have to wait for another season.

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