D-day for Ikeys, Shimlas

Defeats for UCT or Shimlas in round five of the Varsity Cup could end their semi-final hopes.

Current champions Ikeys have endured a horrific title defending campaign with three losses out of their four fixtures thus far. While their only victory was a convincing one against hapless TUT (66-2 in Tshwane), they’ve been disappointing in their other outings as their new-look squad has imploded. The loss of influential players, like flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis, scrumhalf Nic Groom, lock Eben Etzebeth and flanker Nizaam Carr to the Stormers and WP Vodacom Cup squads, has clearly had a negative impact.

Ikeys have played the same kind of expansive game plan that was central to their success last season, but their new charges have failed to execute it as effectively. Head coach Kevin Foote will need to find new strengths to work with as they now face a do-or-die clash against a physical Pukke outfit, who will also need a win as they’ve already suffered two defeats.

Shimlas will also need to triumph when they tackle Tuks in Pretoria. They started their season with an impressive win over UCT at the Green Mile, but have lost three consecutive games thereafter. They had to let go of a couple of key players to the Cheetahs’ Super Rugby squad, like flanker Lappies Labuschagne and speedster Cameron Jacobs, and it will be interesting to see if they can fill those voids. A fourth straight defeat will end their play-off hopes.

Meanwhile, Maties will travel to PE to face giant killers NMMU. The Madibaz have surprised by beating Ikeys and Shimlas, but the three-time champions from Stellenbosch have shown great form during their unbeaten run this year and should have too much power for the hosts.

UJ will entertain whipping boys TUT in Johannesburg. This will likely be a one-sided contest, with UJ to score a massive win.

UCT vs Pukke, Cape Town, 5pm

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 Don Armand, 3 Francois van Wyk, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Wes Chetty.
Subs: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Adriaan Botha, 18 Brad Bosman, 19 Greg Mallett, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Paul Cohen, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 Digby Webb.

Pukke – 15 Malan van der Merwe, 14 Andrew van Wyk, 13 Ruan Jacobs, 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 Martin Dreyer, 18 Lodewyk Uys, 19 Siya Mdaka, 20 Andries Botha, 21 SW Oosthuizen, 22 Terswin Raubenheimer, 23 Mashudu Mafela.

Keo.co.za prediction: Pukke by 10

Tuks vs Shimlas, Pretoria, 7pm

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

Shimlas – 15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Divandré Strydom, 13 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 12 Earl Snyman, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Erick Colyn, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Erik le Roux, 7 Fanie van der Walt, 6 Freddie Ngoza, 5 Joubert Horn, 4 Wilken Heyns, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Michael van Vuuren, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 JC van Wyk, 17 John-Henry Harris, 18 Lebo Zietsman, 19 Armand Koster, 20 Pieter Rademan, 21 Reinhardt Erwee, 22 Stephan van der Merwe, 23 Carl van Heerden.

Keo.co.za prediction: Tuks by 8

UJ vs TUT, Johannesburg, 7pm

UJ – 15 Aubrey McDonald, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Justin St. Jerry, 12 Divan van Zyl, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Worsie Kotze, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Justin Wheeler (c), 7 Wendal Wehr, 6 Johan van Deventer, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Jaco Vermeulen, 2 Shaun Malton, 1 Heinrich Terblanche.
Subs: 16 Jacques Gnade, 17 Njabulo Mkize, 18 Marnus van Huyssteen, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Guy Cronjé, 22 Luan Steenkamp, 23 Anthony Gallacher.

TUT - 15 Brahm du Preez, 14 Craig van Rooi, 13 Rikus de Beer, 12 Koos Kotze, 11 Ruan van Loo, 10 Hansie Graaff, 9 Manny Raposo, 8 Wikus Botes (c), 7 Peter Matthews, 6 Yves Basiya, 5 Ewald Maree, 4 Gavin Engelbrecht, 3 Zandre Grobler, 2 Nathi Sethusi, 1 Dandre van der Westhuyzen.
Subs: 16 Coert van Gerve, 17 Nico van den Heever, 18 Joel Kapena, 19 Ryno Coetzee, 20 Nico Smuts, 21 Quinton van Greunen, 22 Thabo Mangena, 23 Ryno van Rooyen.

Keo.co.za prediction: UJ by 30

NMMU vs Maties, PE, 7pm

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

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

Keo.co.za prediction: Maties by 12

By Gareth Duncan