Crunch time in Varsity Cup

The Varsity Cup results in round three will shape the pathway to the play-offs.

The opening two rounds of the Varsity Cup have seen some interesting results. Defending champions UCT slumped to successive defeats to Shimlas and UJ while the students from Bloemfontein were shocked at home last week by the former whipping boys of the tournament, NMMU. After a disappointing campaign last season, Maties have impressed with consecutive victories over TUT and Pukke, while Tuks are also unbeaten and top the log.

Ikeys will get their best chance of returning to winning ways when they visit TUT in Tshwane. The Vikings have displayed poor form this season, and should struggle at home against a desperate UCT outfit. A defeat for Ikeys will likely rule them out of a play-off place and an opportunity to defend their title.

Tuks and Pukke will feature in the match of the round, as both teams could be fancied for the win. The North West University were unlucky to lose against Maties last weekend as they conceded a late try, and now travel to Pretoria to face an in-form Tuks side. The hosts should edge this match-up because of home-ground advantage.

The Maties-Shimlas clash in Stellenbosch will be another cracker. Shimlas have already picked up a surprise win in the Cape, and will be gunning for a second upset. However, they will face a sterner challenge from Maties, who look like the team that dominated the competition in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

UJ and NMMU will compete for a result that could determine their season. A win for NMMU could push them into play-off contention while a defeat for UJ will leave last season’s log leaders in a difficult position to compete for a top-four place on the table.

Varsity Cup, round three:

UJ vs NMMU, Johannesburg, 5pm

UJ - 15 Worsie Kotze, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Luan Steenkamp, 12 Divan van Zyl, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Guy Cronjé, 9 Rudi Paige, 8 Justin Wheeler (c), 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Johan van Deventer, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Jaco Vermeulen, 2 Shaun Malton, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Subs: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Niabulo Mkize, 18 Marnus van Huyssteen, 19 Dylan Peterson, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Justin St. Jerry, 22 Aubrey McDonald, 23 Heinrich Terblanche.

NMMU - 15 Gerrit Smith, 14 Mayibuye Ndwandwa, 13 Quinton Crocker, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anton Verster, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Charlie Purdon, 8 Jaco Swanepoel (c), 7 Timothy Agaba, 6 Ulrich Pretorius, 5 André Goosen, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Ross David-Anderson, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey.
Subs: 16 Kobus Greeff, 17 Gareth Hartley, 18 Schalk Oelofse, 19 Jaco Otto, 20 Marlin Ruiters, 21 Bradley Kretzman, 22 Devon Lailvaux, 23 Phillip Nel.

Keo.co.za prediction: UJ by 10.

Tuks vs Pukke, Pretoria, 7pm

Tuks – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Dabeon Draghoender, 11 Hayden Groepes, 10 Wesley Dunlop, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Jono Ross (c), 7 Jacques Verwey, 6 Okkie Kruger, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Mike Williams, 3 Stephan Pretorius, 2 Jacques Momberg, 1 Sabelo Nhlapo.
Subs: 16 Zane Botha, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Sthembiso Mlongo, 19 Lean Schwartz, 20 Clayton Stewart, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Riaan Britz, 23 Basil Short.

Pukke - 15 SW Oosthuizen, 14 Andrew van Wyk, 13 Hennie Scorbinski, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (c), 11 Joe Seerane, 10 Gerhard Nortier, 9 Tiaan Dorfling, 8 Juan Pretorius, 7 Ernie Strydom, 6 Philip de Wet, 5 Victor Kruger, 4 Siyanda Ndlovu, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 JC Oberholzer, 1 Henry Scharneck.
Subs: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Zander de Kock, 18 Lodewyk Uys, 19 Siya Mdaka, 20 Andries Botha, 21 Ruan Jacobs, 22 Terswin Raubenheimer, 23 Mashudu Mafela.

Keo.co.za prediction: Tuks by 5.

Maties vs Shimlas, Stellenbosch, 7pm

Maties – 15 André Smith, 14 Ryan Nell, 13 Wessel Coetzee, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 Dean Hammand, 10 André Kemp, 9 Donald Stevens, 8 Tertius Daniller, 7 Helmut Lehmann (c), 6 Sam Mabombo, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Grant Hattingh, 3 Hein van der Merwe, 2 Gareth Light, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Alfred Ries, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 JP Swanepoel, 20 Boela Abrahams, 21 Jarryd Buys, 22 Clearance Khumalo, 23 Os Hamman.

Shimlas – 15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Divandré Strydom, 13 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 12 Earl Snyman, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Rynhardt Erwee, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Fanie van der Walt, 7 Oupa Nohoje, 6 Pieter Labuschagnè (c), 5 JC Astle, 4 Wilken Heyns, 3 Ian Potgieter, 2 PW van Vuuren, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 John-Henry Harris, 18 Wessel Zietsman, 19 Armand Koster, 20 Pieter Rademan, 21 Erick Colyn, 22 Franna du Toit, 23 Stephan Kotze.

Keo.co.za prediction: Maties by 8.

TUT vs UCT, Tshwane, 7pm

TUT -
15 Hagen Mumba, 14 Ruan van Loo, 13 Rikus de Beer, 12 Brahm du Preez, 11 Craig Pheiffer, 10 Hansie Graaff, 9 Nico Smuts, 8 Wikus Botes, 7 Yves Basiya, 6 Ryno Coetzee, 5 JJ Breett, 4 Gavin Engelbrecht, 3 Zandre Grobler, 2 Johan Pieterse (c), 1 Coert van Gerve.
Subs: 16 Dandre van der Westhuyzen, 17 Nico van den Heever, 18 Peter Matthews, 19 Ryno Lopes, 20 Manny Raposo, 21 Melcolm Griffiths, 22 Craig van Rooi, 23 Nathi Sethusse.

UCT - 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Tiger Bax, 12 Michael Morris, 11 Mark Winter, 10 Nick Holton, 9 Liam Slatem, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Zandy Macdonald, 6 Ntsolo Setlaba (c), 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Brad Bosman, 3 Francois van Wyk, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Wes Chetty.
Subs: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Adriaan Botha, 18 James Kilroe, 19 Greg Mallett, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Paul Cohen, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 Digby Webb.

Keo.co.za prediction: UCT by 15.

By Gareth Duncan