• Preview: Varsity Cup (Round 7)

    Five teams are in the running for the remaining three semi-final spots in the Varsity Cup.

    Log-leaders Pukke are the only team assured of a place in the play-offs as the tournament enters the final round of league action on Monday.

    At the other end of the log things will be just as tense, as although UJ and Wits cannot make the semi-finals, there is still the threat of relegation looming.

    The two games televised live on Monday will have the biggest influence on which teams make the semi-finals as sixth-placed Shimlas host third-placed NMMU and Maties (fifth) square off with Tuks (fourth) in Stellenbosch.

    Just four log points separate Shimlas and the Madibaz, which means that the Bloemfontein side could leapfrog their opponents into third place if things go their way in front of their home crowd. Defeat for the Madibaz could see them end the season as low as sixth position which is the same situation that faces both of last year's finalists, Maties and Tuks.

    The big north-south clash between two sides that share five of the six titles between them will effectively be a quarter-final with the teams deadlocked on 16 log points, which should make for a pulsating encounter at the Danie Craven Stadium.

    The mission for Pukke when they face UJ in Potchefstroom will be to secure top spot on the standings to ensure home advantage in the knockout phase of the competition, while UJ will be desperate to avoid a promotion-relegation play-off match.

    The Johannesburg side has had a tough season, with just one win so far, so they will throw everything at Pukke to avoid having to fight for their place in the competition.

    Wits cannot avoid finishing last this season, so they already know that they will be playing Varsity Shield next season, but they will be fired up to notch their first Varsity Cup win in their last match before they are automatically relegated.

    They face an in-form Ikey Tigers side that is still yet to lose away from home this season, and the Cape side's season rides on this match as they can finish on top of the log or miss the semi-finals down in fifth place, depending on how things work out.

    In the Varsity Shield, John Mitchell's UKZN Impi travel to Pretoria to face the bottom-placed TUT Vikings while Peter de Villiers's UWC host the Fort Hare Blues in Bellville.

    Defending champions CUT have a bye this week, but they have already secured top spot and it is now just a matter of who they will face in the final, with just three points separating UKZN, UWC and Fort Hare on the standings with just two rounds left.

    SHIMLAS vs NMMU
    Shimla Park, Bloemfontein, 16:45 (SuperSport 1)

    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 Francois du Toit, 22 Divandre Strydom, 23 Gideon Bruwer.

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

    MATIES vs TUKS
    Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, 19:00 (SuperSport 1)

    Maties – 15 Craig Barry, 14 John Durr, 13 Mark Hodgskiss, 12 Jacobus Jordaan, 11 Caleb Smith, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jean Nel, 8 Tertius Daniller (c), 7 Helmut Lehmann, 6 Justin Benn, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Nicol Heyns, 2 Charl de Villiers, 1 Wesley Adonis.
    Subs: 16 Neethling Gericke, 17 Niel Oelofse, 18 Ian Groenewald, 19 Lungelo Chonco, 20 Bjorn Bernardo, 21 Chris Smith, 22 Jacobus Loubser, 23 Liam Hendricks.

    Tuks – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Reniel Hugo (c), 7 Rudolph Smith, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Irne 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 Emile Temperman, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Kefentse Mahlo, 23 Andrew Beerwinkel.

    PUKKE vs UJ
    Fanie du Toit Stadium, Potchefstroom, 19:00

    Pukke – 15 Ryno Smith, 14 Edmar Marais, 13 Hoffman Maritz, 12 Adriaan Engelbrecht, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Johnny Welthagen, 9, Tiaan Dorfling (c), 8 Juan Language, 7 Henro Swart, 6 Rhyk Welgemoed, 5 Peet van der Walt, 4 Danie Jordaan, 3 Nhlanhla Ngcamu, 2 Marius Fourie, 1 Mashudu Mafela.
    Subs: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Robey Labuschagne, 19 Philip de Wet, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Akhona Nela, 22 Lucien Cupido, Elardus Venter.

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

    WITS vs UCT
    Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg, 19:00

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

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

    VARSITY SHIELD FIXTURES

    TUT vs UKZN
    TUT Rugby Stadium, Pretoria, 19:00

    UWC vs Fort Hare Blues
    UWC Rugby Stadium, Bellville, 19:00

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    Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

    Post by

    Simon Borchardt