Maties should get one over UJ
VARSITY CUP REACTION: Second-placed Maties have been in impeccable form and head into their final round match with only a home semi-final on the mind. Leezil Hendricks reports.
Tuks, UJ and Maties have already booked their semi-final spot but the locations of those play-off matches will only be determined after the final round on Monday.
Maties only need one log point to secure themselves a home semi-final, while ending on top of the log is completely out of their hands, the Maties head coach Hawes Fourie revealed to rugby365.com.
"I am satisfied with making the semi-finals. Now, we just need one point to qualify for a home semi-final, which will be an amazing gift to the Maties supporters and the Danie Craven faithful.
"However, we are not giving up hope for that top spot but the reality is, it is completely out our hands - we need NWU-Pukke to beat Tuks or at least prevent them from getting a bonus-point win," Fourie said.
Maties host UJ in the final round, and the Johannesburg side head into the match oozing with confidence after a five-game winning streak. The match between the two sides could be a preview for one semi-final fixture, depending on Monday's results.
"This is a huge game for both teams. Monday's results could see UJ end up on top the log and we might get them in the semis as well, so it’s important to get a win, not only for the home semi-final but to get one over UJ as well.
"We have to put in a big performance. Fortunately for us, we have the privilege of fielding a full-strength team," he added.
Maties have been impressive in attack with the likes of Craig Barry and Edwill van der Merwe terrorising opposition's defence. Captain Barry's latest four tries made sure his side secure a comfortable 73-44 win over struggling CUT-Ixias in Bloemfontein.
The score could have been more flattering for the Cape side - which could have seen them go top of the log based on point difference - but within a space of seven minutes, they conceded three tries, which is a major concern for Fourie ahead of the UJ battle.
"We let in four tries [against CUT], and I was not happy about that.
"It is a risk if you chasing huge points difference because you not focusing on defence. Our goal was to win with 60 points and we were close.
"In the last quarter of the match, we were leading 73-23 and only had to score two tries instead we conceded three tries. I think the guys were also a little disappointed.
"Against UJ, we cannot afford to get distracted. You should prepare from today onwards with the correct mindset and think about what we want to achieve and just hope Pukke will pull it through.
“If they don’t, we still need to put in a big performance to make sure we secure the second spot on the log," he stated.
By Leezil Hendricks