All the match previews for Round 9 of the FNB Varsity Cup, courtesy of varsitycup.co.za
FNB Varsity Cup Round 9 Match Previews and Provisional Teams
Fixture: FNB Shimlas vs FNB CUT Ixias
Venue: XEROX Shimla Park
Broadcast: Live on SuperSport 1
Bragging rights on the line in battle for Bloemfontein
Egos, pride and a possible semi-final berth are on the line when FNB Shimlas host FNB CUT at Shimla Park in the Bloemfontein Derby on Monday evening.
FNB Shimlas have had a mix bag of a season, after series of disappointing losses but have also pulled off some thrilling victories. Their opening wins over FNB UP-Tuks in Pretoria after an incredible performance from fly-half Lubabalo Dobela, followed by a solid 44-24 victory over FNB Wits and an away 32-27 win over FNB UCT, looked as though they might have kick started a successful season. But a resounding 49-12 defeat to FNB UJ and a whopping 56-21 loss to FNB NWU, made FNB Shimlas have looked less impressive.
Their varying array of results is the reason why they find themselves in such a difficult predicament in the last league round of the competition. FNB Shimlas can still make the semi-finals, provided they get a full complement of points against their rivals and some other results go their way.
FNB Shimlas currently have 19 points and are sixth on the table with FNB UCT at fifth place and FNB UJ at fourth place. If, FNB UCT were to win their game against FNB UJ in Jozi by one point and FNB Shimlas were to beat their points difference on the table, which is currently a 72-point difference, FNB Shimlas could secure the last spot and still contest for the FNB Varsity Cup.
FNB CUT find themselves in a very different position. Tiaan Liebenberg’s men have lost seven games this season and recorded one win, they defeated FNB Madibaz 38-37 in Bloemfontein which could prove to be their saving grace in a promotion/relegation year. FNB CUT will be desperate to avoid the relegation zone once and for all with a win against FNB Shimlas.
After a series of exceptional performances FNB CUT outside centre Ruan Wasserman and full-back Dimitrio Tieties are ones to watch going into the clash. The elusive running of Wasserman and Tieties’s calm head under pressure have been massive assets to Liebenberg’s side. While, FNB Shimlas will rely on the fine tactical kicking of Dobela and the electrical attacking ability of full-back Sechaba Matsoele.
FNB Shimlas Starting XV: 15 Ruan Henning, 14 Athi Halom, 13 Carel Coetzee, 12 Ayabonga Oliphant, 11 Francois Agenbag, 10 Lubabalo Dobela, 9 Zinedine Booysen, 8 Albertus “Bertie” De Bod (c), 7 Benjamin Jansen van Vuuren, 6 Janco Cloete, 5 Henk Pretorius, 4 Sibabalo Qoma, 3 Mogau Mabokela, 2 Hanno Snyman, 1 Daniel Wessels
Substitutes: 16 JC Jansen van Vuuren, 17 Wentzel Vorster, 18 Louis-Martin Cloete, 19 Nardus Erasmus, 20 Mihlali Peter, 21 Dian Badenhorst, 22 Kurt Eybers, 23 Sechaba Matsoele
FNB CUT Ixias Starting XV: 15 Dimitrio Tieties, 14 Mosego Toolo, 13 Ruan Wasserman, 12 Marnu van Niekerk, 11 Duncan van Vuuren, 10 Denver Klue, 9 Ruben de Haas, 8 Stefan Kruger, 7 Isaih Bila, 6 Johannes Terblanche, 5 Ruan Smit, 4 Brendon Fortuin, 3 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 2 Tiaan Erasmus, 1 Quintin Vorster
Substitutes: 16 LW Viljoen, 17 Reinard Esterhuizen, 18 Henco Smit, 19 Thabo Chirwa, 20 Dian Dry, 21 Dean Jacobs, 22 Tiisetso Madonsela, 23 Karabo Maqeba
Fixture: FNB NWU vs FNB Maties
Venue: Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds
Broadcast: Live on SuperSport 1
Battle of the best in Potchefstroom
FNB NWU will be braced for the rejuvenated FNB Maties side when they host the men from Stellenbosch in Potchefstroom on Monday.
It will be the clash of the titans as the table-toppers fight for supremacy in Potchefstroom, with the winners of the bout likely to claim a home FNB Varsity Cup final, should both teams make it through. FNB Maties and FNB NWU have both already secured home semi-finals with FNB Maties going undefeated and FNB NWU losing just one game against FNB UCT.
FNB Maties remain top of the table following Round 8, where the men in maroon had a bye, but they will feel less confident about their lead going into the last league round of the competition.
Jonathan Mokuena’s FNB NWU has sprung into FNB Varsity Cup relevance recently after a close 35-31 victory over FNB Wits in Johannesburg. A four-point win doesn’t sound too convincing but dispatching the in-form FNB Wits sent a message that FNB NWU is indeed, at least, the second-best side in the tournament and can definitely challenge for the FNB Varsity Cup throne.
FNB Maties should never be under estimated though, as Hawies Fourie’s team make a hunting ground of every stadia they tour to, a massive 31-3 win over FNB UJ in the city of gold is testament to that.
It’s hard to pick a winner amongst these two well-balanced sides, with both their back lines and forward packs in fine form. The FNB Maties forward pack has been excellent, typified by the industrious efforts of flanker Marno Redelinghuys with flying winger Duncan Saal. FNB NWU’s forwards have been successful in letting their talented back line fly, with the likes of Chriswill September and Tapiwa Mafura unlocking defences all season long.
FNB NWU Starting XV: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Jimmy Mpailane, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 AK Nela, 11 Dean Stokes, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Tiaan Bezuidenhout (c), 7 Estehan Visagie, 6 Wandile Mazibuko, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Robert Hunt, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Matimu Manganyi
Substitutes: 16 Percy Mngadi, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Theo Ferreira, 19 Jaco Swanepoel, 20 Ruan Viljoen, 21 Nkosana Mathaba, 22 Henko Marais, 23 Justin Newman
FNB Maties Starting XV: 15 Reinhardt Fortuin, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Remu Malan, 8 Marno Redelinghuys, 7 Janco Venter, 6 Johan van Niekerk, 5 Johan Momsen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Chippy Oelofse (c)
Substitutes: 16 Craig Corbett, 17 Ricky Mwagbara, 18 Piet-Louw Strauss, 19 Brandon Valentyn, 20 Stefan Streicher, 21 Brandon Nell, 22 Munier Hartzenberg, 23 Carlisle Nel
Fixture: FNB UJ v UCT
Venue: UJ Stadium
FNB UJ and FNB UCT clash in unofficial quarter final
FNB UJ host FNB UCT in Johannesburg on Monday with the outcome of the clash determining which side makes the FNB Varsity Cup semi-finals.
In what is essentially a quarter final with whoever wins the clash going through to the FNB Varsity Cup semi-finals. FNB UJ currently sit in fourth spot on the FNB Varsity Cup log with 23 points. While, FNB UCT are just behind them at fifth place with 20 points, meaning that FNB UJ’s path to the semi-final is clear and simple; they just need to win.
FNB UCT on the other hand need to make sure they either get a bonus-point win over FNB UJ by scoring four tries or more or deny FNB UJ picking up any losing bonus points. FNB UJ have been on some serious form recently after dispatching some worth opponents including FNB Shimlas and Johannesburg rivals FNB Wits.
It would seem all the odds are in FNB UJ’s favour with the men from Jozi currently in-form, are playing at home and have the advantage of just needing to win as opposed relying on other permutations. But FNB UCT have been known to make an upset, most-notably in 2014 when FNB UCT scored three tries in the final five minutes to claim victory over FNB NWU 39-33 in Potchefstroom to win their second FNB Varsity Cup. The men from Cape Town have shown strong resolve this season as well, scraping some surprise wins over strong opponents including shocking 18-15 over FNB NWU.
It should go down to the wire in Johannesburg with both sides boasting strong forward packs with FNB UCT eighth-man Nyasha Tarusenga a man to watch, while his opposite number Wiaan Conradie could cause some serious problems from the back of the scrum.
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 Siyabonga Luwaca, 5 Estian Enslin, 4 Kevin du Randt, 3 Nico du Plessis, 2 Jannes Snyman (c), 1 Sibusiso Lali
Substitutes: 16 Hendrik-Petrus van Schoor, 17 Dillon Bakos, 18 Dian Schoonees, 19 Malembe Mpofu, 20 Johan Esterhuizen, 21 Jeanluc Cilliers, 22 Cyprian Nkomo, 23 Chergin Fillies
FNB UCT Ikeys Starting XV: 15 Darian Hock, 14 Khanyo Ngcukana, 13 Liam Furniss, 12 Robert Ball, 11 Joel Smith, 10 Lohan Lubbe, 9 Pieter Schoonraad, 8 Nyasha Tarusenga, 7 Josh Moon (c), 6 Kuyenzeka Xaba, 5 Duncan Saffy, 4 Gary Porter, 3 Simon Raw, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 1 Wayrin Losper
Substitutes: 16 Josh van Vuuren, 17 Ashwin Adams, 18 Stanley Modjadi, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Kwezi Puza, 21 Stef de Gouveia, 22 Tristan Mouton, 23 Suwi Chibale
Fixture: FNB UP-Tuks v FNB Madibaz
Venue: LC de Villiers Stadium
FNB Madibaz in last chance saloon
FNB Madibaz will need to beat FNB UP-TUKS in Pretoria on Monday if they are to have any chance of staying in FNB Varsity Cup.
Relegation looms for FNB Madibaz who currently sit at the bottom of the FNB Varsity Cup table. The men from Port Elizabeth have not won a single game this tournament and are in serious threat of being replaced by FNB UWC, who were recently promoted from FNB Varsity Shield.
Hope is not lost for David Maidza’s side, who currently have four log points, as if they beat FNB UP-Tuks and FNB CUT loses to FNB Shimlas without a single bonus point, FNB Madibaz will leap-frog FNB CUT and be safe from relegation for another two years.
But conquering FNB UP-Tuks in Pretoria will be no easy feat considering the side’s recent revival. The team from Tshwane hadn’t won a single game the whole season before their victory over FNB CUT two weeks ago. The win was followed by a thrilling draw to FNB UJ, where FNB UP-Tuks fought back to secure the 30-30 draw against FNB UJ after trailing 20-7 at the break.
Whether it was a shuffle in the coaching staff or just about time that victory came knocking on FNB UP-Tuks’s door after a spate of unlucky losses, they look like a far more threatening side going towards the business end of the competition and could be the final the nail in FNB Madibaz’ coffin.
FNB Tuks Starting XV: 15 Emilio Adonis, 14 Xolisa Guma, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Tyler Fisher, 11 Cameron Hufke, 10 Christo Hamman, 9 Joshua Allderman, 8 Ewart Potgieter, 7 Adre Smith, 6 Eduan Lubbe (c), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Brian Leitch, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Wesley Adonis
Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Franco van den Berg, 18 Orateng Koikanyang, 19 Stephan Smit, 20 Carlo Engelbrecht, 21 Tinus de Beer, 22 Dewald Naude, 23 Mashoa Mukhari
FNB Madibaz Starting XV: 15 Jordan Koekemoer, 14 Athenkosi Mayinje, 13 Siphumelele Msutwana, 12 Riaan Esterhuizen (c), 11 Lindelwe Zungu, 10 Henrique Olivier, 9 Dundre Maritz, 8 Justin Hollis, 7 Luyolo Dapula, 6 Henry Brown, 5 Ruben le Roux, 4 Wynand Grassman, 3 Johan van Wyk, 2 Jean-Pierre Jamieson, 1 Thembelihle Yase
Substitutes: 16 Thembekile Boltina, 17 Nicolas Roebeck, 18 Dylan Barendse, 19 Siyamthanda Jwacu, 20 Jayson Reinecke, 21 Sibusiso Ngcokowane, 22 Luvo Claassen, 23 Stephan Zeelie