Varsity Cup preview (Round 5)

Pukke will play UCT in Potchefstroom on Monday in a replay of last year's epic Varsity Cup final.

The hosts will be looking to avenge their dramatic defeat, which saw the Ikey Tigers score three tries in the last five minutes to clinch the title, and keep their place in the top four heading into the second half of the current season.

In the other fixtures, embattled three-time champions Maties will be looking for their first win this year when they host UJ in Stellenbosch, while Tuks take on CUT in Pretoria and log-leaders Shimlas travel down to Port Elizabeth to face the NMMU Madibaz.

Despite the inevitable hype surrounding the showdown in Potchefstroom, which will be televised live on SuperSport 1 at 7pm, Pukke coach Robert du Preez insists that it won't be about revenge but staying in the hunt this season with the play-offs fast approaching.

'It'll be stupid to go into a match with revenge in mind,' he said. 'There's a lot riding on this game, with Ikeys being just one point behind us. We take things one game at a time and we want to take this opportunity to move up on the log. They are probably one of the most difficult sides to beat and it’s always tough to play against them no matter what the occasion.'

Maties have only ever missed out on the play-offs once, and they will have to win the rest of their games convincingly to avoid that fate again starting against a confident UJ side at the Danie Craven Stadium.

The CUT Ixias have suffered heavy defeats in every game of their debut season so far, and will certainly have their work cut out for them again against a Tuks side determined to bounce back from their first defeat of the season last week.

Pace-setters Shimlas are the only team in the competition yet to lose this season, and they face another test against a NMMU side that need to win if they are to keep their hopes alive of sneaking into the play-offs.

In the Varsity Shield, Wits and UKZN will be looking to put even more distance between themselves and the chasing pack. UKZN Impi travel to Pretoria to face the bottom-placed TUT Vikings and Wits host the Fort Hare Blues in Johannesburg.

Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
Kick-off: 16:45 (SuperSport 1)

Maties – 15 Craig Barry, 14 Jamie Joseph, 13 Christoff van Tonder, 12 Koos Loubser, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Ernest Stapelberg, 9 Bjorn Bernardo, 8 Derick Linde, 7 Justin Benn, 6 Beyers de Villiers, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys (c), 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Abel de Klerk, 2 Neethling Gericke, 1 John Hubert Meyer
Subs: 16 Craig Corbett, 17 Migael Grobler, 18 Lourens Fick, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Remu Malan, 21 Brandon Thomson, 22 Kyle Leibrandt, 23 Jacobus van der Merwe.

UJ – 15 Ronald Brown, 14 Bradley Moolman, 13 Robert De Bruyn, 12 Adriaan Vermeulen, 11 Aphiwe Dyanti, 10 Jaco Fourie, 9 Chuma Faas, 8 Dylan Peterson, 7 Kyle Van Dalen, 6 Kobus Porter (c), 5 David Antonites, 4 Griffith van Wyk, 3 Nico Du Plessis, 2 Siphatho Qinisile, 1 Gareth Milasinovich.
Subs: 16 Jannes Snyman, 17 Brandon Landsberg, 18 Ettienne Oosthuizen, 19 Wiaan Conradie, 20 Hilton Mudarika, 21 James Campbell, 22 Dominic Kroezen, 23 Raeez Salie.

Tuks Rugby Stadium, Pretoria
Kick-off: 18.30 (not televised)

Tuks –15 Jacques Rossouw, 14 Damian van Wyk, 13 Daniel Kriel, 12 John Jackson, 11 Jermaine Kleinsmith, 10 Dewald Human, 9 André Warner, 8 Clyde Davids, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg (c), 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Dennis Smith, 3 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Nqobisizwe Mxoli.
Subs: 16 Jan Enslin, 17 Neethling Fouche, 18 Jason Jenkins, 19 Pieter Janse van Vuren, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Adrian Maebane, 23 Andrew Beerwinkel.

CUT – 15 Luke Cyster, 14 Lethole Makoena, 13 Dean Kouprihanoff, 12 Jacques Nel, 11 Christiaan Erasmus, 10 LDuan Pretorius, 9 Dean Jacobs, 8 Daneel Botes, 7 Jean-Claude Fourie, 6 Frans Sisita, 5 Fanie Coetzee, 4 JJ Nel, 3 Gerard Baard, 2 Jozua De Jager, 1 Lens Noort.
Subs: 16 Ian Smith, 17 Niel Schoombee, 18 Jean Pretorius, 19 Rayno Nel, 20 Victor Maruping, 21 Dean Rossouw, 22 Naude van Biljon, 23 Boetie Makethlo.

Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 18.30 (not televised)

NMMU – 15 Jarryd Buys (c), 14 Tythan Adams, 13 Micheal Barnardt, 12 Devon Lailvaux, 11 Yamkela Ngam, 10 Steven Hansel, 9 Ivan Ludick, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Philip Odendaal, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 Tyler Paul, 4 Stephan Zaayman, 3 Brenden Oliver, 2 Dane van der Westhuizen, 1 Arno Ebersohn.
Subs: 16 Jody Reyneke, 17 Steven Robbeson, 18 Robert Louw, 19 Ivan-John du Preez, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 Andile Jho, 22 Brian Skosana, 23 Marzuq Maarman.

Shimlas – 15 Marco Mason, 14 Vuyani Maqina, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Arthur Williams, 11 Maphutha Dolo, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Renier Botha, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Gerhard Olivier, 6 Refuoe Rampeta, 5 Niel Claassen, 4 Nicolaas Immelman, 3 Chase Morison, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 Theuns Neuwoudt.
Subs: 16 Marco Klopper, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Boela Venter, 19 Daniel Maartens, 20 Mthokozisi Mkhabela, 21 AJ Coertzen, 22 JP Coetzee, 23 Conraad van Vuuren.

Fanie du Toit Stadium, Potchefstroom
Kick-off: 19:00 (SuperSport 1)

Pukke – 15 Jeandre Rudolph, 14 Marno Redelinghys, 13 Niel Morrison, 12 Mashudu Mafela, 11 Mogau Makgati, 10 Armandt Liebenberg, 9 Danie Jordaan, 8 John-Roy Jenkinson (c), 7 Warren Gilbert, 6 Wian Fourie, 5 Johan Deysel, 4 Jaco Bys, 3 Myburgh Briers, 2 Rowayne Beukman, 1 Molotsi Bouwer.
Subs: 16 Dillion Smit, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Rhyno Smith, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Dean Stokes, 21 Bouke Tack, 22 Pertus Uys, 23 Ruan Venter, 24 Jacobus Vermaark, 25 Rhyk Welgemoed, 26 John Wethagen, 27 Juandre Williams.

UCT – 15 Khanyo Ngcukana, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Lihleli Xoli, 12 Nicholas Holton, 11 Dylan Sage, 10 Warren Seals, 9 James Alexander, 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Michael Botha (c), 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Mark Prior, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Joel Carew.
Subs: 16 Michael Kennedy, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Jade Kriel, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Ryand Dugmore, 21 Guy Schwikkard, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 Kyle Whyte.

By Michael de Vries

Photo: SASPA/Varsity Cup

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Mariette Adams