Old grudges in knock-out spotlight
Old grudges in knock-out spotlightSHARE
There will be some scores to settle for the away teams in the 2014 Varsity Cup semifinals on Monday.
Both Maties and NMMU were humbled in front of their home crowds in their respective regular season clashes with UCT andNWU-Pukke, so they will be out to return the favour and book a spot in the final in the process.
The table-topping NWU-Pukke have lost just one game this season, and they showed the Madibaz no mercy in their 52-16 demolition of the Eastern Cape side back in Round Four, so coach Robert du Preez’s men will be full of confidence heading into this one – knowing that a first-ever home final is within reach.
The other semifinal will see old rivals UCT and Maties do battle on the Green Mile in Cape Town, with the visitors out for revenge after the Ikeys notched up an impressive 33-16 win in Stellenbosch in Round Two.
Both NMMU and Maties showed great character last week to book their semifinal spots, with Maties scoring five tries in the second half to knock defending champions UP-Tuks out and the Madibaz grabbing a late try which earned them two bonus points and ended UFS-Shimlas’ campaign.
They will need to show just as much fighting spirit on Monday as they travel to face the form teams in the competition who have lost only three games between them all season.
NMMU’s one-point loss to UFS-Shimlas last week was their only away defeat of the season so far, but they will certainly have their work cut out for them in Potchefstroom against a well-drilled NWU-Pukke outfit.
NWU-Pukke have played in a final before – back in 2009, where they lost to the Maties in Stellenbosch – whilst the Madibaz are yet to reach a final, having played in their first semifinal last year where they went down, unluckily, to the Maties.
The Maties, meanwhile, will take heart from the fact that UCT’s only two defeats this season have come at home, with the notoriously windy conditions on the Green Mile set to have a major say in the outcome once more.
The Men in Maroon have won three Varsity Cup titles (2008-2010), beating the Ikeys (the 2011 champions) in the 2008 and 2010 finals. However, this will be their first-ever semifinal meeting and promises to be a memorable one.
Entry for the semifinal at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds in Potchefstroom is free, whilst tickets for the Cape derby on the Green Mile can be obtained for R30 from the webtickets website.
Monday will also see the final round of Varsity Shield action which will decide which team faces defending champions CUT in the final next week.
The Ixias have already booked their spot, so it will be a question of who they will be up against, with UKZN and Fort Hare the only two sides in the running to play in their first final.
John Mitchell’s UKZN Impi currently occupy second spot, and they will host CUT in Pietermaritzburg whilst third-placed Fort Hare will welcome bottom-placed TUT to Alice as they look to leapfrog the Impi and claim a spot in the final along with a shot at promotion to the Varsity Cup.
In the Varsity Young Guns competition there will be a replay of last year’s final as two-time champions UP-Tuks take on the Junior Maties in Pretoria looking to extend their remarkable unbeaten run in the competition.
The other semifinal will see the unbeaten UJ host the UFS Young Guns side that snuck into the play-offs with a dramatic draw with NWU-Pukke last week.
The Koshuisrugby Championship also heads into the knock-out phase on Monday, with NWU-Pukke’s Patria hosting the Purple Cobras from UCT and Maties Medies travelling to Bloemfontein to take on Heimat.
Both home teams are yet to lose a game this season, so the visitors will have to play out of their boots if they are to cause an upset and make the final next week.
All the teams and match details:
UCT v Maties
(UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town – Kick-off: 16.30)
UCT: 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Guy Schwikkard, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Liam Slatem (captain), 8 Michael Botha, 7 Vince Jobo, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Joel Carew.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Kyle Kriel, 19 Gareth Ehret, 20 James Alexander, 21 Martin Sauls, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 David Maasch.
Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Mark Hodgskiss, 13 Jacobus Loubser, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 John Durr, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jean Nel, 8 Tertius Daniller (captain), 7 Helmut Lehmann, 6 Justin Benn, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Liam Hendricks, 2 Charl de Villiers, 1 Wesley Adonis.
Replacements: 16 Neethling Gericke, 17 Niel Oelofse, 18 Ian Groenewald, 19 Lungelo Chonco, 20 Bjorn Bernardo, 21 Chris Smith, 22 Tebongo Letlape, 23 Nicol Heyns.
Referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Rodney Bonaparte
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Francois Pretorius
TMO: Deon van Blommestein
NWU-Pukke v NMMU
(Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, Potchefstroom – Kick-off: 19.00)
NWU-Pukke: 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Edmar Marais, 13 Jaap Pienaar, 12 Adriaan Engelbrecht, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Johnny Welthagen, 9, Tiaan Dorfling (captain), 8 Juan Language, 7 Rhyk Welgemoed, 6 Philip de Wet, 5 Francois Robbertse, 4 Peet van der Walt, 3 Nhlanhla Ngcamu, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Mashudu Mafela.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Daniel Jordaan, 19 Robey Labuschagne, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Rhyno Smith, 22 Lucien Cupido, 23 John-Roy Jenkinson.
NMMU Madibaz: 15 Jarryd Buys, 14 Tythan Adams, 13 Michael Bernardt, 12 Andile Jho, 11 Yamkela Ngam, 10 Gavin Hauptfleisch, 9 Daniel Acker, 8 Timothy Agaba, 7 Marcel Groenewald, 6 Christopher Cloete, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Dexter Fahey, 2 Jody Reyneke, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).
Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Abongile Mnyaka, 18 Louis Fourie, 19 Wade Elliot, 20 Kayle van Zyl, 21 Devon Lailvaux, 22 Sinakho Mafu, 23 Simon Kerrod.
Referees: Jaco Kotze, Tahla Ntshakaza
Assistant referees: Archie Sehlako, James van Oudtshoorn
TMO: Johan Greeff
Varsity Shield fixtures:
Fort Hare Blues v TUT Vikings
(Davidson Rugby Stadium, Alice – Kick-off: 19.00)
UKZN Impi v CUT Ixias
(Peter Booysen Park, Pietermaritzburg – Kick-off: 19.00)
Varsity Young Guns fixtures:
UJ Young Guns v UFS Young Guns
(UJ Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg – Kick-off: 17.00)
UP-Tuks Young Guns v Junior Maties
(Tuks Rugby Stadium, Pretoria – Kick-off: 14.30)
Koshuisrugby Championships fixtures:
Patria v Purple Cobras
(Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, Potchefstroom – Kick-off: 16.30)
Heimat v Medies
(Shimla Park, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 17.00)