Same teams different venue. That is the story of the Varsity Cup final 2013.
The top of the Class of 2013, Maties and Tuks will fight it out to be crowned Varsity Cup Champions of 2013. The two top teams of the year will contest the final with Maties going through the competition unbeaten and Tuks showing their class in the Semi Finals.
Most rugby people would have preferred NMMU in the final as they were the surprised package of the season but even more remarkable is the way they stood up this year in the competition after holding up the bottom in the past few seasons since they have been accepted. Me for one (A shred Maties supporter) would not have minded too much if they took the semi away from Maties two weeks back as they deserved that more on the day than the three time champions.
Back to the Final, we can expect a huge clash up front were Maties held their own against Tuks in the round robin phase of the competition. I do not want to sound like Naas but this game will be lost and won up-front. With two brilliant packs we will see some agro on the field tonight and do not expect either of them to back down.
For Maties, their inspirational captain Helmut Lehmann is the one guy that could be the difference between winning and losing. The amount of work Lehmann goes through always lifts his players and the direction he gives to the others around is immense.
Another player that will have to fire tonight for the Maties is Reniel Hugo. Hugo came into is own this year and reminded me a lot of a young Bakkies Botha with some skills of Victor Matfield. Watch out for this guy for we will be hearing his name in the future.
For Tuks Blommetjies is the first name that comes up in my mind. He is that kind of player that when he plays good the teams plays good. For some reason he just change the whole dynamics of the game with his attitude and spark he gives on the field.
Other players to point out for Tuks is Jono Ross(Captain) and Shaun Adendorff. These two guys I put in the same class as Lehmann from Maties. I only saw unbelievable skill and play from both these guys even when their team was on the losing end of it.
The last guy Tuks have that will be playing an influence is Handre Pollard at number 10. The talent of this former Paarl boy has not even reach his brain and will be a huge danger for Maties in the kicking and running game.
The game kicks off at 19:00 tonight at the Danie Craven Stadium and will be broadcast on SuperSport 1. If you do not have access to your television you can follow the game on www.ruggaworld.com and on Twitter at @ruggaworld
Here the full team line-up.
Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Clearance Khumalo, 13 Mark Hodgkiss, 12 Ryan Nell, 11 Dean Hammond, 10 JH Potgieter, 9 James Alexander, 8 Reniel Hugo, 7 Lungelo Chonco, 6 Helmut Lehmann (captain), 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Os Hamman, 2 Charl de Villiers, 1 Alister Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Frederik Kirsten, 17 Neil Oelofse, 18 Reuben Johannes, 19 Beyers de Villiers, 20 Jean Nel, 21 Dean Grant, 22 JP Lewis, 23 Brendan Pitzer.
UP-Tuks: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Vainon Willis, 13 Piet Lindeque, 12 Handre Pollard, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Danie Faasen, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques Verwey, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Mike Williams, 3 Basil Short, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Sabelo Nhlapo, 18 Schalk Van Heerden, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Christopher Bosch, 22 Riaan Britz, 23 Christoph Gouws.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Lusanda Jam, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Deon van Blommestein