Varsity Cup final preview

Maties will be looking for a record fourth Varsity Cup title in Stellenbosch on Monday night, while Pukke will be hoping for an upset and a case of third time lucky.

Maties have done well to turn things around in 2016 after a shocking 2015 season in which they failed to qualify for the playoffs. Pukke snuck into the final this year in similar fashion to last year, with an away semi-final victory.

Maties and Pukke dominated their semi-finals last week, with Maties smashing Tuks 49-11 at the Danie Craven Stadium, and Pukke upsetting UJ 35-7 in Johannesburg.

During the round robin stage of the tournament, Maties thumped Pukke 56-12 on neutral ground at Soccer City – Pukke's biggest defeat of the season.

'We took that loss on our chin, so we won’t have revenge on our minds,' said Pukke coach Jonathan Mokuena. 'And it doesn’t mean anything to reach a final and you don’t do everything in your power to win it.'

Maties captain Beyers de Villiers has warned the team against complacency.

'We haven’t won anything yet, we are one step closer to the title but beating Tuks doesn’t mean we have won the trophy, our job is far from done,' he said.

The hosts, who last won the title in 2010, have played in the final only once since their last victory. In 2013 they lost to Tuks on home ground after an unbeaten season. They have since been a shadow of the once dominant Maroon Machine.

Pukke, who will be playing in their third final in a row, have yet to win the competition despite hosting the final in 2014. 

Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
Kick-off: 19:00 (SuperSport 1)

Maties – 15 Craig Barry, 14 Brandon Asher-Wood, 13 Paul Streicher 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Remu Malan, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Janco Venter, 6 Beyers de Villiers (c), 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Jacobus van der Merwe, 2 Johan Kirsten, 1 Chippie Oelofse.
Subs: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Sidney Labuschagne, 19 Saud Abrahams, 20 Bjorn Bernardo, 21 Christopher Smith, 22 Duncan Saal, 23 Johannes Kleinhans.

Pukke – 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Lucian Cupido, 13 Johan Deysel, 12 Henko Marais, 11 Mahuza Sylvian, 10 Barend Janse van Rensburg, 9 Malherbe Swart, 8 Jeandré Rudolph (c), 7 Marno Redelinghuys, 6 Jaco Jordaan, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Neil Morrison, 3 Bart le Roux, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Mashudu Mafela.
Subs: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Joe Smith, 18 Ruan Venter, 19 Tiaan Liebenberg, 20 Percy Williams, 21 Akhona Nela, 22 Dean Stokes, 23 Mogau Mabokela.

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images