Maties chasing third win on the trot
The Varsity Rugby season will be in full swing on Monday with the start of the FNB Varsity Young Guns and Steinhoff Koshuisrugby competitions on top of some big Varsity Cup clashes.
The full schedule of fixtures will see ten matches played across all four national competitions in an action-packed evening of Varsity Rugby.
The Varsity Cup heads into the third round with only FNB Maties having won both of their first two matches, so all eyes will be on the three-time champions when they take on the FNB NMMU Madibaz in front of their home crowd at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch in a match that will be televised live at 7pm.
The Madibaz secured a dramatic last-minute victory over newcomers FNB Wits in Port Elizabeth last week, and their coach Brent Janse van Rensburg knows that his charges will have to raise their game considerably to compete with Maties on their home track where they have lost just two regular season games in the history of the competition.
"We will need to take the field against Maties not as good individuals, but as a good team and actually pull off the plan for that game.
"The NMMU men will work hard to ensure that we come out of our straps, in sport things don't always work out the way one would want it to and there will always be areas to improve," said the Madibaz coach.
Defending champions FNB UP-Tuks will travel to Bloemfontein to face the FNB UFS-Shimlas as they look to build on last week's gritty victory over FNB UCT at home.
UP-Tuks coach Nollis Marais has kept faith with the majority of the side that did the business against the Ikeys as the Pretoria side look to build some momentum through continuity.
"I have every confidence in the guys who played against Ikeys to become a formidable unit. They have the talent and ability to be champions.
“The more they play together, they more they will grow as a team with the consequent improvement in cohesion, urgency, momentum and continuity," said Marais.
Wits will be out to put the heartache of last week's late defeat to NMMU when they return to their home ground to face FNB NWU-Pukke who will be equally determined to erase the memory of their loss to FNB UK in Johannesburg last week.
The Witsies showed plenty of heart to run the Madibaz close after their Varsity Cup baptism of fire at the hands of UFS-Shimlas the week before, but they will certainly have their work cut out for them if they are to record their first ever victory in the competition against NWU-Pukke in front of their home crowd.
The Ikey Tigers would have been encouraged by the fight they showed to earn a bonus point against a star-studded UP-Tuks side in Pretoria last week, and will be desperate to record their first victory of the season when they welcome FNB UJ to the Green Mile.
Both Ikeys coach Kevin Foote and his UJ counterpart Hugo van As have named unchanged starting line-ups from last week, so both teams will have their sights set on justifying the faith of their respective coaches.
In the Varsity Shield the FNB TUT Vikings will have a tough task on their hands in Pretoria as they search for their first win of the season against FNB CUT Ixias who are the only unbeaten side left in the competition.
Peter de Villiers' FNB UWC side will want to show that they can produce the goods away from home when they travel to the hostile atmosphere of the Davidson Rugby Stadium in Alice to take on the FNB Fort Hare Blues who will want to use the passionate support of the home crowd to notch another victory.
The first Steinhoff Koshuisrugby matches of the season will see a tough initiation for Wits outfit Steinhoff Commerce as they welcome defending champions Steinhoff Vishuis to their home track, whilst in Stellenbosch Steinhoff Medies will host NMMU champions Steinhoff Northernz in the curtain-raiser to the showdown between the Varsity Cup teams.
The FNB Varsity Young Guns competition gets underway in Bloemfontein where defending champions UP-Tuks will take on the competitive UFS-Shimlas side at 3pm in an intriguing curtain-raiser to the Varsity Cup clash between the universities which will be televised live at 4.45pm.
In the other Varsity Young Guns encounter the UCT Trojans will want to get their season off to a fast start when they welcome the NMMU Young Guns side to the Green Mile at 4.45pm.
FNB Varsity Cup fixtures and team line-ups - Monday, February 18
FNB Shimlas v FNB UP-Tuks, Xerox Shimla Park - 4.45pm (Broadcast live)
FNB Shimlas: 15 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Reinhardt Erwee, 12 Thys Smit, 11 Maphutha Dolo, 10 Francois du Toit, 9 Renier Botha, 8 Erik le Roux, 7 Teboho Mohoje (captain), 6 Freddie Ngoza, 5 JC Astle, 4 Fanie van der Walt, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Elandre Hugget, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 JC van Wyk, 17 Franco van der Merwe, 18 Henco Venter, 19 Niell Jordaan, 20 Hlanlha Hlongwane, 21 Earl Snyman, 22 Divandre Strydom, 23 Luan de Bruin.
FNB UP-Tuks: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Riaan Britz, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Christopher Bosch, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg (captain), 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Mike Williams, 3 Hencus Van Wyk, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Sabelo Nhlapo.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Schalk Van Heerden, 19 Jacques Verwey, 20 Clayton Stewart, 21 Handre Pollard, 22 Piet Lindeque, 23 Christoph Gouws.
Referee: Tiaan Jonker
FNB Maties v FNB NMMU, Danie Craven Stadium - 7pm (Broadcast live)
FNB Maties: 15 Ryan Nell, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Mark Hodgkiss, 12 Hayden de Villiers, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Dean Grant, 9 James Alexander, 8 Nicholas de Jager, 7 Jurgen Streicher, 6 Helmut Lehmann (captain), 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 3 Os Hamman, 2 Neethling Gericke, 1 Alister Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Charl de Villiers, 17 Niel Oelofse, 18 Lungelo Chonco, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Jean Nel, 21 JH Potgieter, 22 Clearance Khumalo, 23 Brendan Pitzer.
FNB NMMU: 15 Jarred Buys, 14 Mayibuye Ndwandwa, 13 Gerhardus Smith, 12 Xolani Mnisi, 11 Logan Basson, 10 Justin Van Staden, 9 Dwayne Kelly, 8 Timothy Agaba, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Simphiwe Shabangu, 5 Schalk Oelofse, 4 Louis Fourie, 3 Gareth Hartley, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).
Replacements: 16 Albertus De Swardt, 17 Dexter Fahey, 18 Ulrich Pretorius, 19 Mzwanale Zito, 20 Lesley-Dean Luiters, 21 Hermanus van Lill, 22 Lonwabo Ntleki, 23 Lizo Gqoboka.
Referee: Quinton Immelman
FNB Wits v FNB NWU-Pukke, Wits Rugby Stadium - 7pm
FNB Wits: 15 Bronson Lange, 14 Jacques Erasmus, 13 Kayde Fisher, 12 Mandla Dube, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Greg Blom, 9 Mathew Torrance, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Carel Greef, 6 Thato Mavundla, 5 Rinus Bothma, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Phakamilu Zuma, 2 Rory Anderson, 1 Katlego Kgame.
Replacements: 16 Pierce Cooper, 17 Luvuyo Pupuma, 18 Peter van Biljon 19 Shai Korb, 20 Josh Durbach, 21 Jared Meyer, 22 Michael Sephton-Poultney, 23 Hannes Ludik.
FNB NWU-Pukke: 15 Hoffman Maritz, 14 SW Oosthuizen, 13 Sylvian Mahuza, 12 Hennie Skorbinski, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Gerhard Nortier, 9 Jaco Grobler, 8 SJ Niemand, 7 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 6 Phillip de Wet, 5 Victor Kruger (captain), 4 Danie Jordaan, 3 Herman Basson, 2 JC Oberholzer, 1 Martin Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Arno Ebersohn, 18 Molotsi Bouwer, 19 HP Swart, 20 Tiaan Dorfling, 21 Rowayne Beukman, 22 Wynand Olivier, 23 Mashudu Mafela.
Referee: Ben Crouse
FNB UCT v FNB UJ, UCT Rugby Fields - 7pm
FNB UCT: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Liam Bax, 12 Nicholas Holton, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Ross Jones-Davies, 9 Liam Slatem, 8 Josh Katzen, 7 Ntsolo Setlaba, 6 Kyle Kriel, 5 Jacobus Odendaal (captain), 4 James Kilroe, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Derek Asbun, 17 Digby Webb, 18 Bradley Bosman, 19 Jason Klaasen, 20 Rick Schroeder, 21 David Ambunya, 22 Lihleli Xoli, 23 Oliver Kebble.
FNB UJ: 15 Kobus De Kock, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Bradley Moolman, 12 Luan Steenkamp, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Divan van Zyl, 9 Vian van der Watt, 8 RJ Liebenberg, 7 Justin Wheeler (captain), 6 Kobus Porter, 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Wiseman Kamanga.
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Wessel Du Rand, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Steph de Witt, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Adriaan Vermeulen, 22 Tommy Damba, 23 Njabulo Mkize.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
FNB Varsity Shield fixtures - Monday, February 18:
FNB TUT v FNB CUT, TUT Stadium - 7pm
FNB UFH v FNB UWC, Davidson Rugby Stadium - 7pm
Steinhoff Koshuisrugby fixtures - Monday, February 18:
Steinhoff Medies v Steinhoff Northernz, Danie Craven Stadium - 4.45pm
Steinhoff Commerce v Steinhoff Vishuis, Wits Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm
FNB Varsity Young Guns fixtures - Monday, February 18:
FNB Shimlas v FNB UP-Tuks, Xerox Shimla Park - 3pm
FNB UCT v FNB NMMU, UCT Rugby Fields - 4.45pm