Preview: Varsity Cup, Round Three
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Shimlas and Pukke have established themselves as the front-runners after two rounds of action, however, the chasing pack are hot on their heels as we head into Round Three of the Varsity Cup.
Shimlas are top of the standings with two bonus-point victories from two matches while Pukke are just a point adrift following their two victories.
Shimlas welcome a out-of-sorts UCT to Bloemfontein and will certainly be eyeing another bonus-point victory. Pukke have a tough task ahead of them as they travel to Stellenbosch to face Maties. The Danie Craven Stadium was the venue where Pukke claimed their first Varsity Cup title in 2016.
Last year's runners-up, Maties, have worked their way up to third spot on the log following their victory last week. However, they will now be playing with a new level of motivation as regular captain Beyers de Villiers has been forced to retire from the game following numerous concussions over a short period of time.
The Madibaz may be coming off the back of a defeat but they occupy fourth spot, a solitary point above Tuks - who return to action this week after their bye week in Round Two. The sides will lock horns in Pretoria.
The remaining fixture this round sees two sides who are yet to claim a victory do battle in Johannesburg. Wits have put in some useful performances but lack the experience at this level to put oppositions away while CUT have played just one match in the competition.
All Monday's Round Three action!
Wits v CUT-Ixias
(Johannesburg, Kick-off: 16.45; 14.45 GMT)
The big news from the Wits camp is that 2016 SA Schools representative Wandisile Simelane will be making his debut at wing. Simelane was a standout player for the Golden Lions at the 2016 Craven Week and has been touted as one of the best young backline players in the country.
His SA Schools teammate and Western Province Craven Week representative Manuel Rass could be handed a debut as well, after being named on the bench.
Simelane takes the place of AJ van Blerk in the starting line-up, with Josh Jarvis moving infield to take up the outside centre role, in the only backline change. Constant Beckerling moves from flank to No.8 with Jethro de Lange dropping to bench and Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt being handed a starting role at flank.
Karl Erasmus takes his spot in the matchday 23, replacing Themba Mpemvu while Rass replaces Lwazi Monakali on the bench.
CUT have opted to drop stand-out player Darren Adonis from their matchday 23. The young fullback bagged both tries in their defeat to UCT in Round Two and will be replaced by Denver Kleu, who moves off the bench.
There's no place for Johan Nel either, as his inside centre spot is filled by Pieter Toua. Brendan Verster won't be part of the matchday 23, as his flank role is handed to Sylvester Makakole, with Kyle Ess moving onto the bench.
Denzil Fiff is the only other change on the bench, taking Chrisjan du Toit's spot.
Wits: 15 Luxulo Ntsepe, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Josh Jarvis, 12 Brandan Hewitt, 11 Wandisile Simelane, 10 Warren Gilbert (captain), 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Constant Beckerling, 7 Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt, 6 Ruan Macdonald, 5 Rhyno Herbst, 4 Graham Logan, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 CJ Conradie, 1 CJ Greeff.
Replacements: 16 Justin Brandon, 17 Brandon Palmer, 18 Pascal Snyman, 19 Jethro de Lange, 20 Karl Erasmus, 21 Manuel Rass, 22 Jarred Branco, 23 Ameer Williams.
CUT-Ixias: 15 Denver Kleu, 14 Masego Toolo, 3 Waldo Putter, 12 Pieter Toua, 11 Gorden Madonsela, 10 Martin Jacobs, 9 Ruben Heymans, 8 Stefan Kruger, 7 Sylvester Makakole, 6 Dean Rossouw, 5 Rayno Nel, 4 Pieter Venter, 3 Hendrik Smit, 2 Theunis Truter, 1 Jean Volkwyn.
Replacements: 16 Stefan Jacobs, 17 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 18 Kyle Ess, 19 Kian Skippers, 20 Dian Dry, 21 Dean Jacobs, 22 Ruan Wasserman, 23 Denzil Fiff.
Referee: Archie Sehlako
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Willie Vos
Shimlas v UCT-Ikeys
(Bloemfontein, Kick-off: 18.30, 16.30 GMT)
Shimlas will have a different starting flyhalf as Niell Stannard makes way for Nicholas Naude. There are further positional switches as Musa Mahlesa and Phumzile Maqondwana swap places at flank, Raymond Woest and Ruben Schoeman switch at lock and Kwenzokuhle Blose and Thabiso Msiza change places at prop.
Sango Xamlashe on the bench comes into the matchday 23 on the bench, replacing Vuyani Maqina.
FOR UCT-Ikeys, Robert Anderson moves from fullback to flyhalf, replacing Robbie McIntyre with Lohan Lubbe taking up the vacant fullback position. Kuyenzeka Xaba moves from lock to flank, replacing captain Jason Klaassen - who is suspended following his red card and Gary Porter takes a starting lock role.
Shimlas: 15 Sechaba Motsoela, 14 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 13 Lihleli Xoli, 12 Stephan Janse van Rensburg (captain), 11 Frederick Mason, 10 Nicholas Naude, 9 Dian Badenhorst, 8 Albertus Erasmus, 7 Musa Mahlesa, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Cornelius Kramer, 2 Hanno Snyman, 1 Thabiso Msiza.
Replacements: 16 Albrecht Steyn, 17 Johan Kotze, 18 Kwenzokuhle Blose, 19 Raymond Woest, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Albertus Pretorius, 22 Sango Xamlashe, 23 Niell Stannard.
UCT-Ikeys: 15 Lohan Lubbe, 14 Rayno Mapoe, 13 Tristan Mouton, 12 Rico Lategan, 11 Joel Smith, 10 Robert Anderson, 9 Stefano de Gouveia, 8 Nyasha Tarusenga, 7 Luke Stringer, 6 Kuyenzeka Xaba, 5 Duncan Saffy, 4 Gary Porter, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 1 Wayrin Losper.
Replacements: 16 Martin Chandler, 17 William Day, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Sanele Malwane, 20 Alva Senderayi, 21 Matthew Redman, 22 Michael Henning, 23 Hilio de Abreu.
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Local
NMMU-Madibaz v UP-Tuks
(Pretoria, Kick-off: 18.30, 16.30 GMT)
Madibaz coach David Maidza has brought in Jixie Molapo at wing to replace Khaya Malotana and Siphumelele Msutwana as a replacement for Thomas Kean at outside centre. In the pack, Janse Roux moves off the bench to replace Wynand Grassmann at lock.
There is also a change in the front row as both Nicolas Roebeck and Xandre Vos make way for James Beyl and Nicolaas Oosthuizen at prop.
Coming off a bye, Tuks have kept the changes to a minimal. Sibahle Maxwane comes in for Keanan van Wyk at wing while Marco van Staden drops out, Chris Massyn moves to flank and Clyde Davids starts at No.8.
The other changes to the pack sees Eduan Lubbe replacing Ruan Steenkamp at flank and Brian Leitch replacing Eli Snyman at lock.
NMMU-Madibaz: 15 Lindelwe Zungu, 14 Jixie Molapo, 13 Siphumelele Msutwana, 12 Somila Jho, 11 Athenkosi Mayinje, 10 Simon Bolze, 9 Lovu Claassen, 8 Kevin Kaba (captain), 7 Henry Brown, 6 Stephanus Nieuwoudt, 5 Gerrit Huisamen, 4 Janse Roux, 3 James Beyl, 2 JP Jamieson, 1 Nicolaas Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Jedwin Harty, 17 Xandre Vos, 18 Nicolas Roebeck, 19 Robert Izaks20 Jayson Reinecke, 21 Rouche Nel, 22 Jordan Koekemoer, 23 Ivan-John du Preez.
UP-Tuks: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Dewald Naude, 13 Toko Maebane, 12 Impi Visser, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Theo Maree, 8 Clyde Davids, 7 Chris Massyn, 6 Eduan Lubbe, 5 Brian Leitch, 4 Aston Fortuin, 3 Johan Fouche, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Replacements: 16 Theuns Reynolds, 17 Jaco Holtzhausen, 18 Marius Verwey, 19 Juan Swanepoel, 20 Raegan Oranje, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Immanuel Libbok, 23 Franco van den Berg.
Referee: Jaco Pretorius
Assistant referees: Local
Maties v NWU-Pukke
(Stellenbosch, Kick-off: 19.00, 17.00 GMT)
Maties' new captain Craig Barry will miss the encounter and is replaced by Tiaan Swanepoel while there is a shuffle in the loose trio. Kobus van Dyk moves to flank, with Devon Nash starting at No.8 and Janco Venter missing out.
Ernst van Rhyn makes way for Johannes Momsen at lock while there is a new-look front row with Jacobus van der Merwe and Wesley Adonis replacing Christian Hamman and Niel Oelofse at prop.
Pukke's starting XV remains unchanged as coach Johnathan Mokuena sticks with the tried and tested.
Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Kyle Steyn, 12 Braam Venter, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Theo Stapelberg, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Devon Nash, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Mitchell Carstens, 5 Johannes Momsen, 4 John Groenewald, 3 Jacobus van der Merwe, 2 Craig Corbett, 1 Wesley Adonis.
Replacements: 16 Hendrik Luus, 17 Niel Oelofse, 18 Wikus Groenewald, 19 Saud Abrahams, 20 Stephan Streicher, 21 Logan Boonzaaier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Michal Haznar.
NWU-Pukke: 15 Lungelo Gosa, 14 Jimmy Mpailane, 13 Elden Schoeman, 12 Hendrik Marais, 11 Tapiwa Mafura, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Jeandré Rudolph (captain), 7 Jan Venter, 6 Wandile Mazibuko, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Loftus Morrison, 3 Dewald Dekker, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Rudolph van Deventer.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Nicolaas van Tonder, 18 Morné Strydom, 19 Marno Redelinghuys, 20 Marcel Henn, 21 Caleb Louw, 22 Nkululeko Mcuma, 23 Justin Newman.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Shaun Veldsman