Varsity Cup Round 5, preview & predictions

Half way through the competition we still have 7 teams fighting for the top four positions. Any slip-up can cost any team a place in the semi-final which makes this year’s competition the closest race in years.

by Jacques

Last week’s results:

Monday, February 27 – Round Four:
FNB NMMU 23 FNB UCT 21 (Xerox NMMU Stadium, Port Elizabeth)
FNB Shimlas 18 FNB UJ 50 (Xerox Shimla Park, Bloemfontein)
FNB Maties 23 FNB UP-Tuks 22 (Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
FNB NWU-Pukke 52 FNB TUT 8 (Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, Potchefstroom)

After last week results Maties took control as the leader of the pack, but with just 2 points ahead of Tuks and UJ.

Position Team P W D L PF PA PD BP Pts
1 Maties 4 4 0 0 109 43 66 1 17
2 UP-Tuks 4 3 0 1 125 51 74 3 15
3 UJ 4 3 0 1 135 74 61 3 15
4 NWU-Pukke 4 2 0 2 110 78 32 3 11
5 NMMU 4 2 0 2 86 122 -36 1 9
6 UCT 4 1 0 3 112 92 20 2 6
7 Shimlas 4 1 0 3 90 109 -19 2 6
8 TUT 4 0 0 4 12 210 -198 0 0

There are some nice matchups again this week with Pukke and UCT taking each other on in Cape Town. This is a must win game for UCT as they will not be able to pull back with another loss tonight.

Speaking ahead of the game Pukke Coach Hannes Esterhuizen said that UCT’s backs are against the wall and this will be a quarter final for both teams as the losing teams will lose ground to make the semi-finals. For the champions Adrian Kritzinger is back from injury and will line up at inside centre. Flanker Ntsolo Setlaba will captain the Ikeys in only their second home match of the season.

Simply put: one more defeat will mean the defending champions are out of the race to make the Last Four, with matches against NWU-Pukke (this Monday), FNB Maties (away) and FNB UP-Tuks (home) still to come. The game kicks off at 5pm and will be broadcast on Supersport.

In the second game Tuks will host the struggling Shimlas in Pretoria. Shimlas sit in the same position as UCT in that they still have a change to make the semi-finals but will have to win all their remaining games and hope for other results to go their way. It will spring as a big surprise if Shimlas do upset the apple cart tonight as Tuks are one of the form teams this year. Daniel Adongo will make his varsity cup debut for Tuks tonight. The Kenyan tips the scales at 112 kilograms and stand 1, 97 meters tall. He is one of the highly rated youngsters in the Jakaranda city. UP-Tuks, who are currently in second place on the log – having lost just once this season, have not beaten Shimlas since the 2008 Varsity Cup – when they won 32-14 in Pretoria.

In the other games we have UJ taking on TUT and NMMU are hosting Maties in PE.

Monday, March 5 – Round Five:
FNB UCT v FNB NWU-Pukke (UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town), 5pm (TV)
FNB UP-Tuks v FNB Shimlas (Tuks Rugby Stadium, Pretoria), 7pm (TV)
FNB UJ v FNB TUT (UJ Stadium, Johannesburg), 7pm
FNB NMMU v FNB Maties (Xerox NMMU Stadium, Port Elizabeth), 7pm

Predictions:

  • UCT vs. Pukke – Pukke to take the champs by 8 points.
  • Tuks vs. Shimlas – Tuks with plenty.
  • UJ vs. TUT – UJ by plenty.
  • NMMU vs. Maties – Maties by 20 points.

**Additional information from www.varsitycup.co.za

** Game updates by www.varsitycup.co.za and www.rugby15.co.za

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