Home semis at stake in Varsity Cup

Maties, Tuks and UJ have the chance of finishing in the top two on the log in the final league round of the Varsity Cup.

While the semi-finals places are already confirmed (Maties, Tuks, UJ and Pukke have qualified), home ground advantage for the play-offs are still up for grabs. Even unbeaten Maties can fall out of the top two should they lose heavily to UJ in Johannesburg, which makes this fixture the highlight match of the week.

The two teams were involved in a crucial last-round fixture last season, which UJ won 39-19 at Danie Craven Stadium. This was the result that saw three-time champions Maties fail to reach the semi-finals for the first time in the tournament’s history. However, this season, Stellenbosch University will be favourites as they’ve proved that they’re back at their best with a six-match winning streak. UJ also proved that they struggle against a team that plays a physical, direct game plan, which saw them surrender a 16-point half-time lead in their 34-32 loss to Pukke in Potchefstroom last week.

Another important clash will see Tuks visit UCT at the Green Mile – a repeat of the 2011 final. Tuks are expected to win on this occasion, a result that will book the Pretoria team a home semi-final. While UCT are the defending champions, they’ve failed to impress like they did last season.

In other matches in the final round, Pukke entertain Shimlas at home while NMMU travel to whipping boys TUT in Tshwane.

UCT vs Tuks, Cape Town, 5pm

UCT – 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Tiger Bax, 12 Adrian Kritzinger, 11 Mark Winter, 10 Nick Holton, 9 Liam Slatem, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Brad Bosman, 6 Ntsolo Setlaba (c), 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Graham Knoop, 3 Francois van Wyk, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Wes Chetty.
Subs: 16 Matt Page, 17 Digby Webb, 18 James Kilroe, 19 Greg Mallett, 20 Nick Farrar, 21 Paul Cohen, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 Mini Bhengu.

Tuks – 15 Hayden Groepes, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Dabeon Draghoender, 11 Courtnal Skousan, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Jono Janse van Rensburg, 7 Jacques Verwey, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Nqubeko Zulu, 4 Mike Williams, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Zane Botha (captain), 1 Vincent Koch.
Subs: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Sthembiso Mlongo, 19 Lee Thompson, 20 Rudi van Rooyen, 21 Fanie Booysen, 22 Gerhardus Kotzee, 23 Basil Short.

UJ vs Maties, Johannesburg, 7pm

UJ – 15 Worsie Kotze, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Justin St. Jerry, 12 Divan van Zyl, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Guy Cronjé, 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 Francois du Toit, 17 Njabulo Mkize, 18 Marnus van Huyssteen, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Aubrey McDonald, 22 Luan Steenkamp, 23 Roche van der Westhuizen.

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

Pukke vs Shimlas, Potchefstroom, 7pm

Pukke – 15 SW Oosthuizen, 14 Andrew van Wyk, 13 Ruan Jacobs, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (c), 11 Joe Seerane, 10 Gerhard Nortier, 9 Tiaan Dorfling, 8 HP Swart, 7 Philip de Wet, 6 Siya Mdaka, 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 Spanner Pretorius, 20 Andries Botha, 21 Malan van der Merwe, 22 Terswin Raubenheimer, 23 Mashudu Mafela.

Shimlas – 15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 12 Stephan van der Merwe, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Franna du Toit, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Erik le Roux, 7 Willie Britz (c), 6 Armandt Kotze, 5 JC Astle, 4 Joubert Horn, 3 Ian Potgieter, 2 PW van Vuuren, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 JC van Wyk, 17 John-Henry Harris, 18 Lebo Zietsman, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Pieter Rademan, 21 Reinhardt Erwee, 22 Divandré Strydom, 23 Carl van Heerden.

TUT vs NMMU, Tshwane, 7pm

TUT – 15 Hagen Mumba, 14 Thabo Mangena, 13 Rikus de Beer, 12 Koos Kotze, 11 Ruan van Loo, 10 Hansie Graaff, 9 Manny Raposo, 8 Wikus Botes (c), 7 Yves Basiya, 6 Tinus van Wyk, 5 Ewald Maree, 4 Gavin Engelbrecht, 3 Zandre Grobler, 2 Nathi Sethusi, 1 Dandre van der Westhuizen.
Replacements: 16 Juan Kotze, 17 Nico van den Heever, 18 Kapena Joel, 19 Vusi Mbonani, 20 Nico Smuts, 21 Melcolm Griffiths, 22 Quinton van Greunen, 23 Ryno van Rooyen.

NMMU – 15 Gerrit Smith, 14 Mayibuye ‘Beast’ Ndwandwa, 13 Quinton Crocker, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Eckard Jacobs, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Anton Verster, 8 Jaco Swanepoel (c), 7 André Goosen, 6 Ulrich Pretorius, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Dexter Fahey, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey.
Replacements: 16 Kobus Greeff, 17 Gareth Hartley, 18 Timothy Agaba, 19 Thomasau Forbes, 20 Carl van Niekerk, 21 Bradley Kretzman, 22 Devon Lailvaux, 23 Phillip Nell.

By Gareth Duncan