Maties will be aiming to reach a third successive Varsity Cup final when they host Shimlas on Monday, while Tuks welcome NWU to Pretoria.
It promises to be an electric affair when two of the stronger attacking sides in the competition meet in Stellenbosch. Maties have scored the most tries in the Varsity Cup this season with 52, while Shimlas have been exceptional with ball in hand, especially from first phase.
The Maroon Machine will be confident going into their semi-final, having defeated Shimlas 59-14 earlier in the season and scoring eight tries to two.
Maties will rely on the experience of players such as Edwill van der Merwe, who has been a perpetual performer on the wing, as well as loose forwards Chris Massyn and the ever-industrious Johann van Niekerk.
The men from Bloemfontein have plenty of firepower of their own in the backline, with winger Marnus Boshoff racking up six tries this season, while Sechaba Matsoele remains a constant threat on the counter-attack.
However, the real match-up will be between the two generals, with Shimlas and Junior Boks No 10 Lubabalo Dobela fronting up against Varsity Cup top-point scorer Jordan Chait.
Maties captain Johan Momsen conceded that they are worried about the threat Dobela and co will pose on Monday.
‘After beating Shimlas last time, they can be dangerous because we know they had opportunities in that game that they just didn’t finish, so we have to be prepared for everything. They have hard runners and are a very unpredictable team, so we will need to be on top of our game on Monday.
‘We are definitely looking out for their flyhalf [Dobela], he is quick and their playmaker, and we’ll put some pressure on him.’
Earlier in the day, Tuks will be out to contain NWU’s forward pack when the two sides clash in the first semi-final.
The men from Pretoria will go into the match refreshed after coming off a bye and confident after clobbering NWU 28-0 in Potchefstroom in round seven. The Stripe Generation has looked like a different side in 2019 after finishing seventh last year.
Their challenge has been spearheaded by veteran No 10 Tinus de Beer, while Denzel Hill remains an enforcer in the loose forwards, and speedster Damian Bonaparte has been exciting at fullback.
NWU, meanwhile, have based a lot of their success on their defence, making the most tackles this season with 1,603, with their captain Louis van der Westhuizen making the most with 149 successful tackles.
Tuks skipper Marius Verwey believes that despite their recent win over NWU, anything can happen in the semi-final.
‘It is going to be a great game. NWU are in very good form and when it comes to a semi-final, nothing you’ve done previously matters. But we remain positive that we will get the victory at the end of the day.
‘They have a very physical pack that would want to dominate, a nine and 10 that control the game, and their outside backs who can be dangerous when you give them the space.’
TUKS vs NWU
Tuks Stadium, Pretoria
Kick-off: 4:45pm (SuperSport 1)
Tuks – 15 Vaughen Isaacs, 14 Irvin Ali, 13 Lourens Pretorius, 12 Erich Cronje, 11 Ciaran Dayaram, 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 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Etienne Janeke.
Subs: 16 Werner Fourie, 17 Jacobus Eloff, 18 Bart le Roux, 19 Brian Leitch, 20 Reagen Oranje, 21 Damian Bonaparte, 22 Xolisa Guma, 23 Ewart Potgieter.
NWU – 15 Shane van Rooyen, 14 Lungelo Gosa, 13 Lincoln Daniels, 12 Evardi Boshoff, 11 Pienaar van Niekerk, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Edmund Rheeder, 7 Wian Conradie, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Jan du Plooy, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Matimu Manganyi, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen (c), 1 Tshegofatso Moloto.
Subs: 16 Marius Stander, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Ruben du Plooy, 20 Muziwandile Mazibuko, 21 Eugene Hare, 22 Keagan Tait, 23 Nkululeko Mcuma.
MATIES vs SHIMLAS
Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
Kick-off: 7pm (SuperSport 1)
Maties – 15 Anton du Toit, 14 Munier Hartzenberg, 13 David Brits, 12 Chris Smit (c), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Chait, 9 Logan Boonzaaier, 8 Stephan Streicher, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 Clee Sesink, 4 Zirk Jansen, 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Wayrin Losper.
Subs: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Ricky Nwagbara, 18 Piet Strauss, 19 Mitchell Carstens, 20 Jesse Johnson, 21 Brendon Nell, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin.
Shimlas – 15 Sechaba Matsoele, 14 Charl Pretorius, 13 William Eybers, 12 Tiaan Schutte, 11 Marnus Boshoff, 10 Lubabalo Dobela, 9 Zinedene Booysen, 8 Albertus de Bod, 7 Menzi Nhlabathi, 6 Jan Rossouw, 5 Sibabalo Qoma, 4 Nathan Jordan, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Wihan Marais, 1 Daniel Wessles.
Subs: 16 Christian Wiburg, 17 John Fincham, 18 Mogau Mabokela, 19 Henk Pretorius, 20 Olehile Losaba, 21 Rewan Kruger, 22 Cham Zondeki, 23 Kurt Eybers.
Photo: Van Zyl Naude/Varsity Sports