Preview: Varsity Cup, Round Five

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 20:43
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The race to the Varsity Cup playoffs will intensify on Monday as the top five teams are separated by just five points. Tauriq Ebrahim looks at how the teams match up.

The action gets underway with the fiercest rivalry of them all - UCT v Maties at the Green Mile. Bloemfontein will play hosts to two matches - CUT v UJ and Shimlas v NWU-Pukke - while Tuks welcome Wits to Pretoria.

There will be more than just points on the line in Cape Town as bragging rights are thrown into the equation as well. Maties will head into the encounter as the clear favourites as they find themselves at the top of the table, following three victories from their four matches.

UCT currently occupy fifth place on nine points as they have managed two victories in the four matches they have played. If there is one thing that will be in the hosts' favour is the wind. The Green Mile is synonymous for having very conditions and this could nullify Maties' expansive game plan.

CUT-Ixias will be looking to bag their first victory of the competition when they host an inexperienced UJ in Bloemfontein, however, the Johannesburg students are coming off the back of a massive victory.

UJ claimed the massive scalp of Tuks in Round Four and that victory could be the catalyst to getting their season going. CUT, on the other hand, are winless in their opening three matches and have struggled to put together a full 80-minute performance.

Tuks will be hurting from their defeat to UJ and will not want to go down to another Johannesburg side. That defeat - their first of the campaign - saw them slip to fourth place on the log, three points off Maties - although they do have a game in hand.

Wits head into the encounter rejuvenated after having a bye week in Round Four but they will be fancying their chances. Wits have been tipped to be the dark horse of the competition and while the results speak a different story, their performances have been impressive.

The round concludes with number two (Shimlas) taking on number three (Pukke) in Bloemfontein.

Shimlas squeezed past neighbours CUT in a rescheduled Round Four encounter, to bounce back from a shock 7-22 defeat at the hands of UCT in the previous round. Round Four saw Pukke take on UCT and they managed to claim the victory to bounce back from a humiliating defeat to Maties the previous week.

This match could go either way but one thing is certain, expect a very open game while some monster tackles.

The NMMU-Madibaz, who are currently eighth on the log with one victory from their four matches, enjoy a bye this round.

All Monday's fixtures!

UCT-Ikeys v Maties
(Green Mile, Kick-off: 16.45, 14.45 GMT)

UCT-Ikeys: 15 Lohan Lubbe, 14 Rayno Mapoe, 13 Suwilanji Chibale, 12 Rico Lategan, 11 Joel Smith, 10 Robert Anderson, 9 Stefano de Gouveia, 8 Nyasha Tarusenga, 7 Luke Stringer, 6 Sanele Malwane, 5 Gary Porter, 4 Duncan Saffy, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 1 Wayrin Losper.
Replacements: 16 Martin Chandler, 17 William Day, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Kuyenzeka Xaba, 20 Vernon Petersen, 21 Hilio de Abreu, 22 Tristan Mouton, 23 Gerard Pieterse.

Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Barend Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Brendon Nell, 8 Devon Nash, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Saud Abrahams, 5 Johannes Momsen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Jacobus van der Merwe, 2 Craig Corbett, 1 Niel Oelofse.
Replacements: 16 Johan Kirsten, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Wikus Groenewald, 19 Mitchell Carstens, 20 Stephan Streicher, 21 Albertus de Wet, 22 Kyle Steyn, 23 Tiaan Swanepoel.

Referee: Rasivhenge Rasta
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans

CUT-Ixias v UJ
(Bloemfontein, Kick-off: 18.30, 16.30 GMT)

CUT-Ixias: 15 Darren Adonis, 14 Olwethu Ndakisa, 13 Ruan Wasserman, 12 Louis Nel, 11 Waldo Putter, 10 Martin Jacobs, 9 Ruben Heymans, 8 Stefan Kruger, 7 Mosoeu Maruping, 6 Dean Rossouw, 5 Pieter Venter, 4 Kian Skippers, 3 Hendrik Smit, 2 Andries Olivier, 1 Jean Volkwyn.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Ess, 17 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 18 Chrisjan du Toit, 19 Cornelius van Niekerk, 20 Dian Dry, 21 Dean Jacobs, 22 Denver Kleu, 23 Brendan Verster.

UJ: 15 Ewan Adams, 14 Peter-John Walters, 13 Aphiwe Dyanti, 12 Jaco Fourie, 11 Tshegofatso Ramaboea, 10 Divan Nel, 9 Johan Esterhuizen, 8 Willem Massyn, 7 Adrian Bester, 6 Wian Conradie, 5 Estian Enslin, 4 Reinhaard Nothnagel, 3 Nico du Plessis, 2 Johannes Snyman, 1 Waldo Wiedeman.
Replacements: 16 Baard le Roux, 17 Kanya Gela, 18 Chergin Fillies, 19 Jo-Hanco de Villiers, 20 Devon Mare, 21 Johann Vermaak, 22 Carlisle Jordan, 23 Kevin du Randt.

Referee: Jaco Pretorius
Assistant referees: Local

UP-Tuks v Wits
(Pretoria, Kick-off: 18.30, 16.30 GMT)

UP-Tuks: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Dewald Naude, 13 Adrian Maebane, 12 Impi Visser, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Marthinus de Beer, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Juan Swanepoel, 7 Christiaan Massyn, 6 Eduan Lubbe, 5 Brian Leitch, 4 Aston Fortuin, 3 Johan Fouche, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Replacements: 16 Theunis Reynolds, 17 Jacobus Holtzhausen, 18 Marius Verwey, 19 Denzel Hill, 20 Theo Maree, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Immanuel Libbok, 23 Franco van den Berg.

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 Gianni Lombard, 23 Ameer Williams.

Referee: Ricus van der Hoven
Assistant referees: Local

Shimlas v NWU-Pukke
(Bloemfontein, Kick-off: 19.00, 17.00 GMT)

Shimlas: 15 Sechaba Motsoela, 14 Vuyani Maqina, 13 Lihleli Xoli, 12 Stephan Janse van Rensburg (captain), 11 Frederick Mason, 10 Niell Stannard, 9 Dian Badenhorst, 8 Albertus Erasmus, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Jacob Immelman, 4 Raymond Woest, 3 Cornelius Kramer, 2 Hanno Snyman, 1 Johan Kotze.
Replacements: 16 Albrecht Steyn, 17 Kwenzokuhle Blose, 18 Thabisdo Msiza, 19 Ruben Schoeman, 20 Musa Mahlasela, 21 Albertus Pretorius, 22 Nicholas Naude, 23 Wilhelm Kotzenberg.

NWU-Pukke: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Jimmy Mpailane, 13 Elden Schoeman, 12 Jacob Pienaar, 11 Justin Newman, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Marno Redelinghuys, 7 Neil Morrison, 6 Marcel Henn, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Jaco Swanepoel, 3 Kabelo Motloung, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Rudolph van Deventer.
Replacements: 16 Dane van der Westhuyzen, 17 Dewald Dekker, 18 Morné Strydom, 19 Jan Venter, 20 Muziwandile Mazibuko, 21 Julian Delicado, 22 Nkululeko Mcuma, 23 Lungelo Gosa.

Referee: Lesego Legoete
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: JJ Wagner

Varsity Shield

We could see new log leaders at the end of this round of Varsity Shield matches as current log leaders Walter Sisulu, who has claimed three victories in three matches, enjoy a well-deserved rest.

A win for UWC, who host TUT in Bellville, will see them take over the top spot - albeit temporarily. The Cape students are high on confidence after demolishing newcomers Rhodes 88-8 in the previous round.

Their opponents, TUT will be looking to bounce back and claim their second victory of the competition to keep themselves in touch with the early pace-setters.

CPUT's first home game of the season sees them lock horns with UKZN-Impi and it is going to be a tough battle as they are separated by a solitary point on the log.

CPUT looked impressive in the two matches they have played and will be the fresher of the teams, as they enjoyed a bye week in the previous round. UKZN, on the other hand, managed to bounce back from a shock defeat in their opening game when they edged Forth Hare - so their confidence will be on the increase.

The round closes off with Rhodes hosting Fort Hare. Both teams are coming off defeats and victory for the Alice-based students would see them solidify their third place on the table. Rhodes will need to give their home fans value for money as they aim to bag a first-ever Varsity Shield victory.

(Cape Town, Kick-off: 18.30, 16.30)

Referee: Jaco Kotze
Assistant referees: Local

Rhodes v Fort Hare
(Grahamstown, Kick-off: 18.30, 16.30 GMT)

Referee: Paul Mente
Assistant referees: Local

(Cape Town, Kick-off: 18.30, 16.30 GMT)

Referee: Mpho Matsaung
Assistant referees: Local

By Tauriq Ebrahim

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Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
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Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
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Pool CUP
Team P W D L Pts
UP-Tuks 8 7 0 1 34
Maties 8 7 0 1 34
UJ 8 5 0 3 25
Shimlas 8 5 0 3 23
Wits 8 4 0 4 21
NWU-Pukke 8 4 0 4 19
NMMU-Madibaz 8 2 0 6 11
UCT-Ikeys 8 2 0 6 9
CUT-Ixias 8 0 0 8 3
Team P W D L Pts
UWC 6 5 0 1 27
Fort Hare 6 4 0 2 20
UKZN-Impi 6 4 0 2 20
WSU 6 3 0 3 14
CPUT 6 2 0 4 10
TUT 6 2 0 4 9
Rhodes 6 1 0 5 6