Pukke will be looking to lift the Varsity Cup for the first time when they host UCT in Potchefstroom on Monday night.
Both teams secured home semi-final victories, with Pukke edging NMMU 19-18 and UCT beating old rivals Maties 20-8 in the wind and rain on the Green Mile. The hosts will have the psychological advantage of having beaten Ikeys 47-24 in Cape Town in the opening round, but coach Kevin Musikanth’s team are yet to lose away from home this year so they cannot be taken lightly.
Musikanth has made a major impact in his first season with UCT after two lean years since they won their only title in 2011, and his counterpart Robert du Preez has made a big impression as well, with Pukke topping the table for the first time.
The teams have had a two-week break since their semi-final victories, but Musikanth said that they have not changed much in terms of their preparation.
'As far as the approach to the game is concerned, we have prepared in the same manner as we have always prepared. Ultimately if we want to call ourselves Varsity Cup champions we need to have what it takes to go out to Potch and beat Pukke in their own backyard. Our team and coaching staff have tremendous work ethic and we are going all-in.'
Meanwhile, the last available place in next year’s Varsity Cup will be decided in the promotion-relegation play-off between John Mitchell’s UKZN Impi and an embattled UJ outfit that finished down in seventh position this season.
The Impi went down to CUT in the Varsity Shield final last week, with Ixias securing their third title to finally move up to the Varsity Cup, but they will have another crack at promotion in the first game to be played at the Fanie du Toit Sports Ground.
They face a UJ side who are fighting for survival after a disappointing campaign that went downhill after their promising draw with defending champions Tuks in their opening game.
The Koshuis final will feature two unbeaten teams as Pukke’s Patria host Heimat from UFS in the curtain-raiser to the Varsity Cup final.
PUKKE vs UCT
Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, Potchefstroom, 19:00 (SuperSport 1)
Pukke – 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Edmar Marais, 13 Jaap Pienaar, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Johnny Welthagen, 9, Tiaan Dorfling (c), 8 Juan Language, 7 Henro-Pierre Swart, 6 Rhyk Welgemoed, 5 Francois Robbertse, 4 Peet van der Walt, 3 Nhlanhla Ngcamu, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Mashudu Mafela.
Subs: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Daniel Jordaan, 19 Philip de Wet, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Rhyno Smith, 22 Lucien Cupido, John-Roy Jenkinson.
UCT – 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Guy Schwikkard, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Liam Slatem (c), 8 Michael Botha, 7 Vince Jobo, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Joel Carew.
Subs: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Kyle Kriel, 19 Guy Alexander, 20 James Alexander, 21 Martin Sauls, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 David Maasch.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
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