Preview: Varsity Cup (Round 5)

Top spot in the Varsity Cup will be on the line when defending champions Tuks host Pukke on Monday.

Tuks have 16 log points going into round five and Pukke 14. In Stellenbosch, Maties (10) will look to move past opponents Shimlas (11) into third place.

In the bottom half of the standings, there is just one log point between UJ and UCT ahead of their battle in Johannesburg, while Wits will be hoping to break their duck in the competition when they host NMMU.

Tuks remain the only unbeaten side following their bonus-point win over Ikeys on the Green Mile last week, but will face a serious test of their title credentials against a Pukke side full of confidence after their demolition of the Madibaz in Port Elizabeth.

Maties would have taken confidence from consecutive victories in the last two rounds after going down in their first two matches, but they will be confronted by a Shimlas team that showed UJ no mercy in Bloemfontein last week to storm up to third place.

UJ find themselves down in seventh place after that heavy defeat, but their play-off hopes are by no means over and they will be right back in the mix if they manage to overcome Ikeys on home turf. UCT have lost both of their home games this season, but are unbeaten on the road, and they will be hoping for another win away from home to move back into the top four.

The Madibaz are coming off two consecutive defeats at home, where they were previously unbeaten since 2012, so they will want to respond with a convincing performance against bottom-dwellers Wits who are desperate to end their 11-match losing streak in the competition. Wits fell just short of notching their first-ever Varsity Cup win against Maties in Stellenbosch last week, and will be aiming to go one better at home against a Madibaz side low on confidence.

In the Varsity Shield, defending champions CUT will be back on home soil after their bonus-point win against UWC in Bellville on Thursday, and they will face a TUT Vikings side hoping to bounce back from consecutive defeats.

The UKZN Impi remain in second place following their hard-fought draw with the Fort Hare Blues in Alice on Thursday, and they will have a chance to put some daylight between themselves and the third-placed Blues when they host bottom-placed UWC in Durban.

Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg, 16:45 (SuperSport 1)

Wits – 15 Ruhan Nel, 14 Mandla Dube, 13 Divan Ferguson, 12 Brent Crossley, 11 Nkuli Gamede, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Mathew Torrance, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Senna Esterhuizen, 6 Thato Mavundla, 5 Rinus Botma, 4 Devin Montgomery (c), 3 Kelley Ferdinand, 2 Ashley Kohler, 1 Hannes Ludick.
Subs: 16 James Marx, 17 Kyle Wood, 18 Conor Brockschmidt, 19 Peter van Biljon, 20 Rendani Ramovha, 21 Ish Nkolo, 22 Joshua Jarvis, 23 Gideon Muller.

NMMU – 15 Kayle van Zyl, 14 Ayabula Dlepu, 13 Michael Bernardt, 12 Devon Lailvaux, 11 Yamkela Ngam, 10 Jarryd Buys, 9 Daniel Acker, 8 Timothy Agaba, 7 Marcel Groenewald, 6  Christopher Cloete, 5 Louis Fourie, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey (c).
Subs: 16 Jody Reyneke, 17 Abongile Mnyaka, 18 Rob Louw, 19 Andre Barnard, 20 Gavin Hauptfleisch, 21 Andile Jho, 22 Sinakho Mafu, 23 Christie Lawrence.

UJ Stadium, Johannesburg, 19:00 (SuperSport 1)

UJ – 15 Marais Schmidt, 14 PJ Walters, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Michael Haznar, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Jacques Pretorius (c), 8 Kobus Porter, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Tiaan MacDonald, 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Van Zyl Botha, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Wiseman Kamanga.
Subs: 16 Jannes Snyman, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Dylan Peterson, 20 Lukas van Zyl, 21 Juan Kotze, 22 Pieter Morton, 23 Hendrik Bredenkamp.

UCT – 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Nicholas Holton, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 James Alexander (c), 8 Vince Jobo, 7 Shaun McDonald, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Robin Murray.
Subs: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Msizi Zondi, 18 Kyle Kriel, 19 Guy Alexander, 20 Liam Slatem, 21 Martin Sauls, 22 Suwilanju Chibale, 23 David Maasch.

Tuks Rugby Stadium, Pretoria, 19:00

Tuks – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel,12 Ryan Nell, 11 Kefentse Mahlo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Reniel Hugo (c), 7 Rudolph Smith, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Basil Short, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Arno van Wyk, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Jannes Kirsten, 19 Leneve Damens, 20 Carlo Engelbrecht, 22 Francois Tredoux, 22 Duncan Matthews, 23 Andrew Beerwinkel.

Pukke – TBC

Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, 19:00

Maties – 15 Craig Barry, 14 Clearance Khumalo, 13 Mark Hodgskiss, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 Caleb Smith, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jean Nel, 8 Tertius Daniller (c), 7 Lungelo Chonco, 6 Beyers de Villiers, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Nicol Heyns, 2 Freddie Kirsten, 1 Johannes Kleinhans.
Subs: 16 Charl de Villiers, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Ian Groenewald, 19 Justin Benn, 20 Louis Nel, 21 Chris Smith, 22 Johnny Kotze, 23 Liam Hendricks.

Shimlas – 15 Ludwig Erasmus, 14 Maphuta Dolo, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (c), 11 Sethu Tom, 10 Gouws Prinsloo, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Justin Pappin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Franco van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Markus Odendaal, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Johan van der Hoogt, 19 Neill Jordaan, 20 Kay-Kay Hlongwane, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 Divandré Strydom, 23 Gideon Bruwer.


CUT Rugby Stadium, Bloemfontein, 19:00

Howard College Rugby Stadium, Durban, 19:00

Photo: Mario van de Wall/Gallo Images

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