There will be some scores to settle for the away teams in the Varsity Cup play-offs on Monday.
Both Maties and NMMU were humbled in front of their home crowds in their respective regular season clashes with UCT and Pukke, so they will be out to return the favour and book a spot in the final in the process.
The table-topping Pukke have lost just one game this season, and they showed the Madibaz no mercy in their 52-16 demolition of the Eastern Cape side in round four, so coach Robert du Preez’s men will be full of confidence heading into this one – knowing that a first-ever home final is within reach.
The other semi-final will see old rivals UCT and Maties do battle on the Green Mile in Cape Town, with the visitors out for revenge after Ikeys notched up an impressive 33-16 win in Stellenbosch in round two.
Both NMMU and Maties showed great character last week to book their semi-final spots, with Maties scoring five tries in the second half to knock defending champions Tuks out and the Madibaz grabbing a late try which earned them two bonus points and ended Shimlas’ campaign.
They will need to show just as much fighting spirit on Monday as they travel to face the form teams in the competition, who have lost only three games between them all season.
Monday will also see the last round of Varsity Shield action, which will decide whether UKZN or Fort Hare face defending champions CUT in the final next week.
John Mitchell’s Impi currently occupy second spot, and they will host CUT in Pietermaritzburg while third-placed Fort Hare will welcome bottom-placed TUT to Alice as they look to leapfrog the Impi and claim a spot in the final along with a shot at promotion to the Varsity Cup.
UCT vs MATIES
UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town, 16:30 (SuperSport 1)
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 Gareth Ehret, 20 James Alexander, 21 Martin Sauls, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 David Maasch.
Maties – 15 Craig Barry, 14 Mark Hodgskiss, 13 Jacobus Loubser, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 John Durr, 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 Liam Hendricks, 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 Tebongo Letlape, 23 Nicol Heyns.
PUKKE vs NMMU
Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, Potchefstroom, 19:00 (SuperSport 1)
Pukke – 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Edmar Marais, 13 Jaap Pienaar, 12 Adriaan Engelbrecht, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Johnny Welthagen, 9, Tiaan Dorfling (c), 8 Juan Language, 7 Rhyk Welgemoed, 6 Philip de Wet, 5 Francois Robbertse, 4 Peet van der Walt, 3 Nhlanhla Ngcamu, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Mashudu Mafela.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Daniel Jordaan, 19 Robey Labuschagne, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Rhyno Smith, 22 Lucien Cupido, John-Roy Jenkinson.
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.
VARSITY SHIELD FIXTURES
Fort Hare vs TUT
Davidson Rugby Stadium, Alice, 19:00
UKZN vs CUT
Peter Booysen Park, Pietermaritzburg, 19:00
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Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images