It is North against South, Ikeys against Tukkies. The final of the Varsity Cup, live from Pretoria at 18:30.
Since the start of the tournament in 2008 the only team that had the privilege of lifting the Cup was Maties, so in some way it’s fitting that a new trophy will be handed out to the new champion tonight.
UCT have suffered narrow losses to the previously all-conquering Maties in 2008 and 2010 finals. In 2009 they lost against Pukke in the semi-finals – and all that stands in the way of the UCT class of 2011 to finally lift the trophy, is the small matter of beating Tukkies in Pretoria.
UCT will go into the final as favourites. With a record of only one loss up-country in the past four years, confidence will not be a problem for the men from Cape Town.
FNB Tuks lock Franco Mostert has been one of the standout performers in this year’s Varsity Cup and his team will be looking for one more big game from him. The hard-working second row learnt his trade in the town of Brits in the North West where he grew up, representing Hoërskool Brits before moving to Pretoria. “The first provincial team that I played for was when I was picked for the Blue Bulls Under-21 team last year,” he told varsitycup.co.za. “It’s been a big honour and a very exciting one too.” “This year we have had more depth,” he explained. “There has been more competition amongst the players and our competent management team have created a very professional environment.”
varsitycup.co.za got some predictions from some experts:
Hugh Bladen (Former Transvaal flyhalf and legendary SuperSport commentator):
“I hope Ikeys win because they play the better rugby. I think they play a more entertaining brand of rugby. Tukkies rely a lot more on forward power and if their Vodacom Cup players are released by the Blue Bulls than I think they would probably have a better chance.”
Hanyani Shimange (Former UCT and Springbok hooker; SuperSport commentator):
“I reckon it will be UCT. If Nizaam Carr and Eben Etzebeth and their Vodacom Cup players like Tim Whitehead and Marcel Brache play then I think they should win it. I think it’s probably their time.”
Corné Krige (Former Stormers and Springbok captain):
“It’s going to be a tough one. I would have to back Tuks at home, even though I would like Ikeys to win it because they have been in the final for the last few years and have always been disappointed. But it will be tough one for them to fly up there and beat Tuks at home with that very conservative Blue Bulls gameplan of theirs – with really strong forwards and a kicker that keeps it in front of the forwards.”
Toks van der Linde (Former Springbok and Western Province prop):
“I think Tukkies would think they owe Ikeys a big one after they lost to them last time at the LC de Villiers. I think the Ikeys are a side that have really come of age and they have learnt a lot in the Varsity Cup. I don’t want to be a fence-sitter but it is a really difficult one to call. I wouldn’t be surprised if it went into extra-time. As a Capetonian, and Heyneke Meyer is going to be the moer-in with me… but I think that the Ikeys have played a lot of semifinals and they came close in some finals, so it might just be their year. Either way, however, it will be tough. Tuks are looking good, but I think Ikeys will just tip it.”
Naas Botha (Former Bulls and Springbok points-machine; SuperSport analyst):
“I love the Ikeys, I love the way they play, their attitude towards the game and I think they have got some great players but I think home-ground advantage will be the difference. I think when there are two great teams going into a final the most important thing is the home-field advantage. I think it is a great match-up, there are two very good sides going into the final and I think you need to look at Tuks because they are the team with that (home) advantage.”
* Monday’s finals day in Pretoria gets underway at 3pm when FNB TUT (the Varsity Cup Wooden Spoonists) and FNB CUT (the Varsity Shield winners) go head-to-head in the first-ever promotion/relegation match.
The next match is at 4.45pm – the Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships Final between Steinhoff Simonsberg (Maties) and Steinhoff Patria (Pukke) – with a Red Bull Airshow taking place at half-time of that match.
The official festivities ahead of the 2011 Varsity Cup Final between Tuks and UCT will begin soon after the Koshuis Final, with top Afrikaans singer Bobby van Jaarsveld set to wow the crowd and help the build-up to the first-ever final in Pretoria.
Entrance is free on Monday, with the various beer gardens opening their doors at 5pm – with supporters encouraged to get to the LC de Villiers Sports Grounds as early as possible to join in all the festivities.
All matches will also be televised live on SuperSport One.
FNB Tuks: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Jean du Plessis, 12 Dabeon Draghoender, 11 Hayden Groepes, 10 Wesley Dunlop (captain), 9 Danie Faasen, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jono Ross, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Nqubeko Zulu, 3 Stephan Pretorius, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Vincent Koch.
Replacements: 16 Chris Crous, 17 Jean Rossouw, 18 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 19 Jacques Verwey, 20 Clayton Stewart, 21 JC Roos, 22 Gerhardus Kotzee, 23 Grant Kemp.
FNB UCT: 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Pete Haw, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Ricky Rijs, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Greg Mallett, 7 Nick Fenton-Wells (captain), 6 Don Armand, 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Matt Page, 1 Wesley Chetty.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Michael Morris, 19 Zandy Macdonald, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Mark Winter, 22 Sabelo Siyakatshana, 23 Pete Olivier.
My prediction: Mmmhhh Think it will be UCT by 10 points but will hope Tukkies go all the way especially because nobody gave them a change in the beginning of the season and wrote them off after the lost against TUT.
Additional information from www.varsitycup.co.za