The Varsity Cup has been helluva exciting thus-far, but week 5 promises to take this another level up as Maties takes on the Tigers in the wind-tunnel and Shimlas taking on Pukke.
History has proven these to be the games of the tournament but this year might offer something different as it seems for now at least, the tables have turned. Maties is struggling with new players and combinations as many of the past players have either moved on to senior rugby or found their way to other universities. Pukke has a whole host of problems as they already lost their coach within three matches and sit bottom of the log with NMMU after four matches.
On the other hand, Ikeys are reaping the benefits of process that John Dobson put in place three years ago. They are playing constructive rugby with the self belief that needs to go with that, but tonight will be a watershed moment for the men from UCT as they take on their only real stumbling block of the past few years – Maties.
The benefit for Ikeys is that they play at home with their conditions and crowd behind them. They will however have to take on Maties without their start lock Eben Etzebeth. Etzebeth who was the man of the match against TUT picked up a knock but his place will be taken by veteran lock Don Armond.
Coach Kevin Foote expects a tight match and told varsitycup.co.za that there will be pressure in this derby match and he hope that they absorb the pressure better than Maties and take the chances that come their way.
Maties captain Callie Visagie believes the 2011 Varisty Cup is an open tournament. Maties have a tough run-in to the end of the tournament with Ikeys (away) tonight, Tuks (away) and then UJ at home, all of them strong contenders for a semi-final spot this year.
Coach Chean Roux has swapped his props around for this game. Looking ahead of tonight’s game Roux told varsitycup.co.za; “All matches are equally important to us, especially in the run-in of the play-offs. As soon as you start making something out of a game, and put extra pressure on it, players start to get nervous. We are just taking this as another game we would obviously like to win. “
The Tigers will be going in as favourites and it will be their game to lose rather than one for Maties to win. It is all about if Ikeys will be able to handle the pressure. UCT and Maties have met 5 times in the history of the Varsity Cup with Maties leading 4-1.
The teams for tonight are:
The FNB UCT team: 15 Ricky Rijs, 14 Pete Haw, 13 Therlow Pietersen, 12 Adrian Kritzinger, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Greg Mallett, 7 Nick Fenton-Wells (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Don Armand, 4 Brad Bosman, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Matt Page, 1 Wes Chetty.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Pallo Manuel, 19 Zandy Macdonald, 20 Nick Farrar, 21 Nick Holton, 22 Jannie Bester, 23 Pete Olivier
The FNB Maties team: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Ryan Nell, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 Tythan Adams, 10 André Kemp, 9 Donald Stevens, 8 Tertius Daniller, 7 Reuben Johannes, 6 Helmut Lehman, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Andrew Prior, 3 Buhle Mxunyelwa, 2 Callie Visagie (captain), 1 Os Hamman.
Replacements: 16 Gareth Light, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 James Alexander, 21 Jody Rose, 22 Jarryd Buys, 23 Suan Havenga.
Date: Monday, March 7
Venue: Groote Schuur Fields, Cape Town
Kick-off: 5pm (Live on SuperSport One)
Referee: Tiaan Jonker
TMO: JC Fortuin
My prediction: Maties by 7
The other big match up of the night is Shimlas against Pukke. This match is traditionally one of the big ones but tonight will see two teams with completely different goals and possibly how they approach the game. On the one hand Shimlas is very much in contention for a semi-final, and possible home semi-final and on the other, Pukke would like to put the season disappointments behind them and start putting some victories together no matter how ugly.
Prodigiously talented scrumhalf Tiaan Dorfling and exciting upstart prop John-Roy Jenkinson will make their first starts for FNB Pukke in the 2011 Varsity Cup when they take to the field. Dorfling replaces former Maties ace Johann Laker (who drops to the bench) at the No.9 shirt, with Jenkinson stepping into the injured shoes of Martin Dreyer at tighthead prop.
Both youngsters – according to caretaker coach Hannes Esterhuizen – have loads of potential. Shimlas coach Jaco Swanepoel has announced an unchanged 23-man match-day squad as the men from Bloemfontein aim to make it two in a row for the first time this Varsity Cup season.
The teams are as follow:
The FNB Pukke team: 15 Willem Barnard, 14 Andrew van Wyk, 13 Kempie Rautenbach, 12 Wouter Watermeyer, 11 Joe Seerane, 10 Cecil Dumond, 9 Tiaan Dorfling, 8 Cornel du Preez, 7 Philip de Wet, 6 Siya Mdaka, 5 Victor Kruger, 4 Ligtoring Landman (captain), 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 JC Oberholzer, 1 Pens Sharneck.
Replacements: 16 Chris Schoonraad, 17 Snoepie Coetzee, 18 Thabo Mamojele, 19 Spanner Pretorius, 20 Johann Laker, 21 Johnny Welthagen, 22 Terswin Raubenheimer, 23 Mashudu Mafela.
The FNB Shimlas team: 15 Shaun Davids, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Zandre de Bruin, 12 Charl Weideman, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Jaco Colyn, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Willie Britz (captain), 7 Pieter Labuschagnè, 6 Hanno Pieterse, 5 Joubert Horn, 4 Wilken Heyns, 3 Ian Potgieter, 2 JC van Wyk, 1 John-Henry Harris.
Replacements: 16 Martin van der Heever, 17 Johan van Niekerk, 18 Frederick Ngoza, 19 Etienne Terblanche, 20 George Whitehead, 21 Franna du Toit, 22 Divandre Strydom, 23 Henry van Niekerk.
- Maties by 7 against UCT
- Shimlas with 10 over Pukke
- Tuks with 7 over UJ(Still sticking to them LOL)
- TUT with 20 over NMMU
Additional information from www.varsitycup.co.za