Preview: Varsity Shield, Semi-finals
KNOCKOUT STAGE: The Varsity Shield competition may have carried on in the murky shadows of the Cup competition but the action has already reached the semi-final stage.
UWC will host the first play-off encounter thanks to them ending the round robin phase at the top of the standings. They will host Walter Sisulu University, who finished fourth after sneaking into the semi-finals, despite being docked 10 points earlier in the competition.
Walter Sisulu were unbeaten in the competition until it was revealed that they fielded an ineligible player in two of their matches and was subsequently sanctioned for those games. Regardless of that, they continued to pick up victories to get themselves into the play-offs.
UWC claimed an impressive 46-24 victory when the sides met in the final round robin match.
Fort Hare will host UKZN-Impi in the other semi-final after the hosts claimed second spot on the log. UFH will head into the game after a one week rest and go up against a side that has blown hot and cold throughout.
The Impi benefitted from being awarded points as other times infringed on the rules and now find themselves with a chance to advance to the Final.
UKZN walked away with a narrow 16-10 victory in Durban when the sides met earlier in the competition.
UWC v WSU
(UWC Stadium, Kick-off: 18.30, 16.30 GMT)
UWC: 15 Daniel Bock, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Michaine Fick, 12 Hendrik Carstens, 11 Andre Manuel, 10 Aidynn Cupido (captain), 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Adrian Paarwater, 7 Shaine Orderson, 6 Dean van Tonder, 5 Curtley Thomas, 4 Brandon Valentyn, 3 Justin Theys, 2 Ralph Janse, 1 Mzo Buthelezi.
Replacements: 16 Ismaiel Schroeder, 17 Nathan Cloete, 18 Matthew le Roux, 19 Alwyn Carstens, 20 Clayton Daniels, 21 Roderick Moses, 22 Keagan Fortune, 23 Bradley Jumaats.
WSU: 15 Zizipho Kayi, 14 Khanyiso Roloma, 13 Ludwe Jack, 12 Mihlali Nchukana, 11 Ntando Mfengu, 10 Sinegugu Lituka, 9 Minenhle Ngidi, 8 Chumani Mjacu, 7 Lubabalo Lento, 6 Mihlali Qoma (captain), 5 Mihlali Mosi, 4 Athenkosi Khethani, 3 Sandile Buthelezi, 2 Siyamthanda Sineko, 1 Sinesipho Puzi.
Replacements: 16 Masixole Gubeni, 17 Nkosinathi Hulani, 18 Luyolo Fata, 19 Siphosihle Magawu, 20 Xolani Mbombo, 21 Lusanda Xakwana, 22 Khwezi Zinto, 23 Luzuko Mafu.
Referee: Ricus van der Hoven
Assistant referee: Local
Fort Hare v UKZN-Impi
(Alice, Kick-off: 18.30, 16.30 GMT)
Fort Hare: 15 Siphuxolo Zaula, 14 Zayne Farmers, 13 Somila Jho, 12 Xolela Daniels, 11 Wilfred Bowers, 10 Jeandre Christian, 9 Qhama Masiza, 8 Sibusiso Sityebi, 7 Zanoxolo Qwele (captain), 6 Thulani Njenje, 5 Athenkosi Makeleni, 4 Philisani Ncoko, 3 Lixhanti Tame, 2 Mkhonto Caku-caku, 1 Bulelani Mdodana.
Replacements: 16 Litha Magocoba, 17 Asiphe Fanele, 18 Siphosethu Tsotsa, 19 Leon Ndlovu, 20 Lindokuhle Kenene, 21 Luyolo Batshise, 22 Sibongile Novuka, 23 Sivuyile Mdishwa.
Referee: Mpho Matsaung
Assistant referee: Local
By Tauriq Ebrahim