It will be a massive test for last year’s winners who are finally back at home after three games in a row on the trot and will want to make their home advantage count. The men from Pretoria will be desperate for a win and to earn some respect in the competition after a series of close losses.
FNB NWU on the other hand will be feeling confident going into the game after three successive victories. Jonathan Mokuena’s men have put up some big scores in as well, beating FNB CUT 70-7 and FNB NMU 37-5.
FNB NWU won’t take the game lightly considering that they could leapfrog FNB UCT and even FNB Wits if the permutations go their way, which means they could go to second place.
FNB UP-Tuks could leapfrog their way out of the relegation zone if they do beat FNB NWU. They currently sit on two points at the bottom of the log but with a win could jump FNB CUT and FNB NMU, assuming they both lose their games. FNB NWU coach Mokuena explained that his side need to get the basics right for the fixture.
“For us it’s all about our processes, we try not focus too much on the other team because then we lose focus. For me as a coach and my management team this week specifically, we have been driving our small processes, making sure we have a good line out, a good scrum and good line speed. We must ensure that those are things are at our standard, then we should be in for a good game.”
The former Blitzbok star empathises for FNB UP-Tuks but stressed that it is a competition.
“Not taking anything away from FNB UP-Tuks, they are struggling at the moment but somewhere along the line they are going to find their feet again. They’re a good team, every team goes through a difficult passage.
“Last year was the same for us. Last year we didn’t make the Semi’s (after winning the previous season), but this is the nature of the beast and it’s a competition. Once again FNB Varsity Cup is proving to be one of the best competitions. We are looking forward to the challenge but we know it’s not going to be easy.”
FNB UP-Tuks Starting XV: 15 Willem Strydom, 14 Emilio Adonis, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Toko Seerane, 11 Ciaran Dayaram, 10 Cliven Loubser, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Eduan Lubbe (captain), 7 Stefan Smit, 6 Reynhard Fourie, 5 Brian Leitch, 4 Marius Verwey, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Wesley Adonis
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Franco van den Berg, 18 Ewart Potgieter, 19 Orateng Koikanyang, 20 Joshua Allderman, 21 Ruben Beytell, 22 Xolisa Guma, 23 Mashao Mukhari
FNB NWU Starting XV: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Dean Gordon, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 AK Nela, 11 Dean Stokes, 10 Hugo Schalk, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Tiaan Bezuidenhout (captain), 7 Estehan Visagie, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Robert Hunt, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Matimu Manqanyi
Replacements: 16 Percy Mngadi, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Theo Ferreira, 19 Jaco Swanepoel, 20 Wandile Mazibuko, 21 Nkosana Mathaba, 22 Henko Marais, 23 Jimmy Mpailane
Bragging rights on the line in Cape Clash
The Western Cape clash between the mighty FNB Maties versus the FNB Varsity Cup dark horses FNB UCT Ikeys should go down to the wire at the Danie Craven Stadium considering these two team’s current form.
FNB Maties have had the competition by a stranglehold in 2018 with the men in maroon unbeaten, with four wins and 1 draw, putting some of their rivals to the sword in the process. The Stellenbosch-based team will be ripe for a backlash though, when they host the Tigers after losing their lead against FNB Wits last week. The Braamfontein boys snatched a 7-point try in the dying minutes of the game to claim a draw.
If FNB Maties win the game, they will compound their log dominance and give themselves some breathing space from FNB Wits and FNB NWU. If Hawies Fourie’s men are defeated and FNB Wits claim a likely bonus-point victory over FNB CUT, FNB Maties could lose their position at the top of the log.
FNB UCT have been the surprise package this season. After a disappointing run last year, the pundits predicted relegation for FNB UCT. But the Tigers have shown their mettle and now sit third on the table with three wins from five games, gaining their form from a powerful set of forwards. Stellenbosch’s Danie Craven Stadium should pack out with over 15 000 fans on the day.
FNB Maties Starting XV: 15 Reinardt Fortuin, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Elden Schoeman, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Christopher Smith, 9 Remu Malan, 8 Janco Venter, 7 Marno Redelinghuys, 6 Mitchell Carstens, 5 Johan Momsen, 4 Brandon Valentyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Chippie Oelofse (captain)
Replacements: 16 Hendrik Luus, 17 Ricky Mwagbara, 18 Piet Strauss, 19 Chris Massyn, 20 Stephan Streicher, 21 Logan Boonzaaier, 22 Herman van Dyk, 23 Munier Hartzenberg
FNB UCT-Ikeys Starting XV: 15 Khanyo Ngcukana, 14 Karl Martin, 13 Liam Furniss, 12 Robbie Ball, 11 Joel Smith, 10 Darian Hock, 9 Pieter Schoonraad, 8 Nyasha Tarusenga, 7 Josh Moon (captain), 6 Kuyenzeka Xaba, 5 Duncan Saffy, 4 David Meihuizen, 3 Simon Raw, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 1 Wayrin Losper
Replacements: 16 Josh Van Vuuren, 17 Ashwin Adams, 18 Stanley Modjadi, 19 Gary Porter, 20 Kwezi Puza, 21 Stefano de Gouveia, 22 Lohan Lubbe, 23 Suwilanji Chibale
FNB UJ focusing on FNB Madibaz task
FNB UJ will be keen to gain as many as log points as possible when they host FNB UJ in Johannesburg on Monday.
FNB UJ didn’t have the ideal start to the tournament after a heavy loss to FNB Maties but they have since come back into the frame as competitors after big wins over FNB CUT and most recently FNB Shimlas, winning 49-12 and scoring five tries in the process. The Orange Army have their sights set firmly on a semi-final placing with the top six teams all within seven points of each other, making it an achievable goal.
FNB Madibaz have had a disaster season by their own standards. The men from Port Elizabeth have yet to win a game despite pushing their opposition close in most of their fixtures. They even handed FNB CUT their second ever win, earlier in the season after losing 38-37 in a try fest where 10 tries were scored.
When asked whether FNB UJ were aiming for a semi-final place, captain Jannes Snyman made it clear that he was focusing on the task at hand.
“The most important thing is preparing and focusing on the next match against FNB Madibaz, who we play on Monday.”
Snyman also urged the FNB UJ fans to come out in full support to spur the side to victory.
“It’s imperative for our fans to remain behind the team and not lose hope that the FNB UJ team can pull of an upset on any given day.”
FNB UJ Starting XV: 15 Ronald Brown, 14 Tatendaishe Mujawo, 13 Jan-Louis la Grange, 12 Austin Davids, 11 Odwa Nkunjana, 10 Kobus Engelbrecht, 9 Bradley Thain, 8 Wian Conradie, 7 Adriaan Bester, 6 James Venter, 5 Estian Enslin, 4 Kevin du Randt, 3 Nico du Plessis, 2 Jannes Snyman (captain), 1 Sibusiso Lali
Replacements: 16 Hendrik-Petrus van Schoor, 17 Dillon Bakos, 18 Siyabonga Luwaca, 19 Malembe Mpofu, 20 Johan Esterhuizen, 21 JeanLuc Cillier, 22 Cyprian Nkomo, 23 Cohen Kiewit
FNB Madibaz Starting XV: 15 Jordan Koekemoer, 14 Athenkosi Mayinje, 13 Siphumelele Msutwana 12 Riaan Esterhuizen (captain), 11 Lindelwe Zungu, 10 Simon Bolze, 9 Sibusiso Ngcokovane, 8 Wynand Grassmann, 7 Henry Brown, 6 Bunganga Magwentsu, 5 Ruben le Roux, 4 Luyolo Dapula, 3 Johan van Wyk, 2 Jean-Pierre Jamieson, 1 Nicolas Roebeck
Replacements: 16 Andre Lategan, 17 Tembelihle Yase, 18 Dylan Barendse, 19 Jayson Reinecke, 20 Nathan Gogela, 21 Dundre Maritz, 22 Henrique Olivier, 23 Micheal Botha
FNB Wits to ‘Stay Humble’
FNB CUT will look to rain on FNB Wits’s parade when they host the high-flying Jo’burgers on Monday evening in Bloemfontein.
FNB Wits have had their critics eating crow since their first fixture of the season as the university, not traditionally known for its rugby prowess, have been steam rolling their opposition and shattering glass ceilings.
FNB Wits have lost just once this tournament, to FNB Shimlas, but otherwise have toppled the likes of FNB UCT, FNB UP-Tuks and most impressively drew to FNB Maties, breaking the Stellenbosch side’s winning streak.
Thier forwards have provided them with a solid base, but thier back line has been lethal with fly-half Christian Humphries, full-back Tyron Green and winger Daniel Kasende bewildering their opponents.
FNB CUT have had a less than glamourous season thus far, with one victory from four defeats and conceding a collective point difference of -152 points. The Bloemfontein side are currently seventh on the table with five points and will want to shock the Jozi boys to escape the bottom of the table.
FNB Wits boss Hugo van As stressed that his side needs to stay grounded as they approach the business end of the competition.
“We are ecstatic to be where we are as a group and after Round Five we are lying in a good position. I think the big challenge is to understand that although we are doing well we haven’t achieved anything and to keep the players grounded is a total commitment.
“Everyone in the group, especially the management, is taking responsibility for their own department, with senior players having a huge role. The players understand we are currently just taking it one game at a game to achieve our goals and we aren’t going to think further than Monday when we play FNB CUT.”
Van As believes FNB CUT would have prepared will for the fixture and won’t be a push over.
“With these kind of results, other teams take notice, prepare better and try beat you on the day. It’s added responsibility and added pressure on us a group and we understand we have to stay humble. If we keep working hard and keep believing in our dream, I’m sure the end result will look after itself.”
FNB CUT Starting XV: 15 Dimitrio Tieties, 14 Masego Toolo, 13 Ruan Wasserman, 12 Louis J Nel, 11 Dean Jacobs, 10 Denver Kleu, 9 Johannes Heymans (captain), 8 Gerhardus Nel, 7 Ruan Smit, 6 Dean Rossouw, 5 Stefan Kruger, 4 Sylvester Makakole, 3 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 2 Tiaan Erasmus, 1 Quintin Vorster
Replacements: 16 Johannes Terblanche, 17 Raynard Esterhuizen, 18 LW Viljoen, 19 Thabo Chirwa, 20 Isiah Bila, 21 Tiisetso Madonsela, 22 Marnu van Niekerk, 23 Karabo Maqeba
FNB Wits Starting XV: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Adriaan van Blerk, 12 Taine Chabant, 11 Daniel Kapepula, 10 Christian Humphries, 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Ayabulela Mdudi, 7 Jethro de Lange, 6 Constant Beckerling (captain), 5 Sipho Siboza, 4 Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt 3 CJ Greeff, 2 CJ Conradie, 1 Ameer Williams
Replacements: 16 Justin Brandon, 17 Craig Hume, 18 Pascal Snyman, 19 Dawid Bodenstein, 20 David Cary, 21 Lwazi Monakali, 22 Manqoba Mbatha, 23 Luyolo Qinela
Find all your Varsity Cup News at www.varsitycup.co.za