NWU will host Tuks in a shootout for a Varsity Cup home semi-final, while Shimlas take on CUT, Wits welcome UCT and UWC look for a first win, against UJ.
The big game of the round sees NWU and Tuks, who sit third and second on the log respectively, battle it out at the Fanie du Toit Stadium for a chance to potentially host a semi-final.
It is a massive chance that the team from Potchefstroom will be looking to seize as they are five points behind their opponents with a game in hand.
While Tuks’ remaining game is against Ikeys, who will be no slouches with playoff ambitions of their own, NWU have a favourable run-in as they travel to Bloemfontein to play CUT before hosting Wits.
NWU captain Louis van der Westhuizen says they will need a good all-round performance if they are to claim a win on Monday.
‘I think Tuks is a well-balanced side,’ Van der Westhuizen said. ‘They have good forwards that can maul and scrum, and they have backs that can run with the ball, so it will have to be an overall good performance by us.’
Tuks, meanwhile, will know that this game presents them with one of the last chances to make up the four-point gap between themselves and log-leaders Maties, who have a bye.
In fact, a bonus-point win will see them climb to the top of the table, an incredible achievement when one considers how Tuks struggled last year.
Tuks captain Marius Verwey says he is expecting a physical onslaught when they take to the field.
‘It’s always a pleasure to play NWU in Potchefstroom because there is always lekker gees and we are looking forward to the challenge,’ Verwey said. ‘NWU are a very physical team and we have worked very hard this week to be prepared for their onslaught.’
Earlier in the day, UCT will aim to stay in the playoff hunt when they travel to Johannesburg to face Wits, who have had a bit of a disappointing season after finishing fourth in 2018.
Despite their rollercoaster campaign, UCT captain Josh Moon says the team is still confident going into this clash.
‘We want to get a W under the belt, but we aren’t thinking about that,’ Moon said ‘We are thinking about going away, getting the five points, coming home and then onto the next game. We aren’t going to underestimate them.
‘We have done our homework. I think we are just very frustrated because we have lost it for ourselves in most of the games we have played,’ Moon added. ‘We have had moments in the game where we have been excellent, but we haven’t really put together an 80-minute performance.’
In the two non-televised games, Shimlas will aim to stay in fourth place when they take on CUT in a Bloemfontein derby. Meanwhile, UWC, who are still looking for their first win of the season, will take on against UJ in Cape Town.
Round 7 fixtures:
WITS vs UCT
Wits Rugby Stadium
Kick-off: 4:45pm (SuperSport 1)
Wits – 15 Jared Fuller, 14 Dan Kasende, 13 Sicelo Champion, 12 Adriaan van Blerk, 11 Anele Makongolo, 10 Christian Humphries, 9 Runaldo Pedro, 8 Phillip Krause, 7 Cal Smidt, 6 Constant Beckerling (c), 5 Kevin du Randt, 4 Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt, 3 Luyolo Qinela, 2 Cecil Conradie, 1 Bhekisa Shongwe.
Subs: 16 Justin Brandon, 17 Craig Hume, 18 Ebot Buma, 19 Pascal Snyman, 20 Sipho Siboza, 21 Ruan Cloete, 22 Moemisi Mosheledi, 23 Yanga Hlalu.
UCT – TBC
UWC vs UJ
UWC Sports Ground
Kick-off: 6:30pm (Not televised)
UWC – 15 Tristan Leyds, 14 Sthsaba Mqhatu, 13 Lubelo Scott, 12 Lyle Hendricks, 11 Andre Manuel, 10 Aidynn Cupido, 9 Clayton Daniels, 8 Adrian Paarwater (c), 7 Reece Boks, 6 Bronlee Mouries, 5 Curtly Thomas, 4 Matthew le Roux, 3 Justin Theys, 2 Jacques van Zyl, 1 Luvo Bazi.
Subs: 16 Luan du Randt, 17 Alexander Mbete, 18 Tyler Gessler, 19 Rohaan Adams, 20 Moegamat Kannemeyer, 21 Keagan Fortune, 22 Darren Jaftha, 23 Hendrik Calitz.
UJ – TBC
CUT vs SHIMLAS
CUT Rugby Stadium
Kick-off: 6:30pm (Not televised)
CUT – 15 Cohen Jasper, 14 Dimitrio Tieties, 13 Ruan Wasserman, 12 Marnu van Niekerk, 11 Erasmus Breedt, 10 Heinrich Bitzi, 9 Johannes Hattingh, 8 Gerhardus Nel, 7 Luvuyo Ndevu, 6 Ruan Smit, 5 Rayno Nel (c), 4 Sylvester Makakole, 3 Tebogo Masemola, 2 Anrich Alberts, 1 Edward Davids.
Subs: 16 Ruben Cross, 17 Quintin Vorster, 18 Hendrik Smit, 19 Brendon Fortuin, 20 Stefan Kruger, 21 Jaco Wilkinson, 22 Marc Morrison, 23 Jason Raubenheimer.
Shimlas – TBC
NWU vs TUKS
Fanie du Toit Stadium
Kick-off: 7pm (SuperSport 1)
NWU – 15 Shane van Rooyen, 14 Lungelo Goa, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 AK Nela, 11 Lincoln Daniels, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Wian Conradie, 7 Reuben du Plooy, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Jan du Plooy, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Matimu Manganyi, 2 Louis ‘Chucky’ van der Westhuizen (c), 1 Botter Moloto.
Subs: 16 Marius Stander, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Wandile Mazibuko, 20 Edmund Rheeder, 21 Eugene Hare, 22 BF van Staden, 23 Nkululeko Mcuma.
Tuks – 15 Damian Bonaparte, 14 Irvin Ali, 13 Lourens Pretorius, 12 Erich Cronje, 11 Ciaran Dayaran, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Theo Maree, 8 Denzel Hill, 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Stephan Smit, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Marius Verwey (c), 3 JP Smith, 2 Cornelius Grobbelaar, 1 Etienne Janeke.
Subs: 16 Werner Fourie, 17 Jacobus Eloff, 18 Bart le Roux, 19 Brian Leitch, 20 Raegan Oranje, 21 Christo Hamman, 22 Xolisa Guma, 23 Mihlali Stamper.
Photo: Luke Thorrold/Varsity Sports