Varsity Cup: It is all to play for

Sun, 16 Mar 2014 15:55
Large varsity cup trophy

There will be all to play for in the final round of league action before the play-offs in the 2014 Varsity Cup.

There will be all to play for in the final round of league action before the play-offs in the 2014 Varsity Cup.

Log-leaders NWU-Pukke are the only team assured of a place in the semifinals, and with five other teams in the running for the other three spots the play-off race is wide open.

At the other end of the log things will be just as tense, as although Johannesburg outfits UJ and Wits cannot make the semifinals there is still the threat of relegation looming this season.

Two games that will have the biggest influence on which teams make the semifinals are when sixth-placed UFS-Shimlas host third-placed NMMU and fifth-placed Maties square off with fourth place UP-Tuks in Stellenbosch.

Just four log points separate UFS-Shimlas and the Madibaz, which means that the Bloemfontein side could leapfrog their opponents into third place if things go their way in front of their home crowd.

Defeat for the Madibaz could see them end the season as low as sixth position which is the same situation that faces both of last year's finalists Maties and UP-Tuks.

The big North-South clash between two sides that share five of the six titles between them will effectively be a quarterfinal with the teams deadlocked on 16 log points, which should make for a pulsating encounter at the Danie Craven Stadium.

The mission for NWU-Pukke when they face UJ in Potchefstroom will be to secure top spot on the standings to ensure home advantage in the knock-out phase of the competition, whilst UJ will be desperate to avoid a promotion/relegation play-off match.

The Johannesburg side have had a tough season, with just one win to their name so far, so they will throw everything at NWU-Pukke to avoid having to fight for their place in the competition.

Wits cannot avoid finishing last this season, so they already know that they will be playing Varsity Shield next season, but they will be fired up to notch their first Varsity Cup win in their last match before they are automatically relegated.

They face an in-form Ikey Tigers side that is still yet to lose away from home this season, and the Cape side's season rides on this match as they can finish on top of the log or miss the semifinals down in fifth place depending on how things work out.

In the Varsity Shield John Mitchell's UKZN Impi travel up to Pretoria to face the bottom-placed TUT Vikings whilst Peter de Villiers' UWC host the Fort Hare Blues in Bellville.

Defending champions CUT have a bye this week, but they have already secured top spot and it is now just a matter of who they will face in the final, with just three points separating UKZN, UWC and Fort Hare on the standings with just two rounds left.

There will be just one Varsity Young Guns match on Monday as NWU-Pukke host UFS in Potchefstroom in a showdown which will determine which team goes through to the semifinals.

In the Hostel Championships Medies host Onderstepoort in Stellenbosch in what will be a quarterfinal of sorts as they battle to secure second place in the pool behind the unbeaten Patria.

All of the teams in the pool will be in action on Monday as Majuba attempt to hand Heimat their first defeat and the Cobras look to move past Majuba into second place when they take on the winless Humanities in Johannesburg.

All of Monday's teams and match details:

UFS-Shimlas v NMMU Madibaz
(Shimla Park, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 16.45)

UFS-Shimlas: 15 Ludwig Erasmus, 14 Maphuta Dolo, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Sethu Tom, 10 Gouws Prinsloo, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Justin Pappin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Franco van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Markus Odendaal, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Johan van der Hoogt, 19 Neill Jordaan, 20 Kay-Kay Hlongwane, 21 Francois du Toit, 22 Divandre Strydom, 23 Gideon Bruwer.

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: Cwengile Jadezweni, Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: JJ Wagner

Maties v UP-Tuks
(Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch - Kick-off: 19.00)

Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 John Durr, 13 Mark Hodgskiss, 12 Jacobus Jordaan, 11 Caleb Smith, 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 Nicol Heyns, 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 Jacobus Loubser, 23 Liam Hendricks.

UP-Tuks: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Reniel Hugo (captain), 7 Rudolph Smith, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Basil Short, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Arno van Wyk, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Jannes Kirsten, 19 Leneve Damens, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Kefentse Mahlo, 23 Andrew Beerwinkel.

Referees: Jaco Kotze, Rodney Bonaparte
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Shaun Veldsman

NWU-Pukke v UJ
(Fanie du Toit Stadium, Potchefstroom - Kick-off: 19.00)

NWU-Pukke: TBC

UJ: 15 Juan Kotze, 14 PJ Walters, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Harold Vorster,
11 Michael Haznar, 10 Marais Schmidt, 9 Viaan van der Watt, 8 Dylan Petersson, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Kobus Porter (captain), 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Van Zyl Botha, 2 Jannes Snyman, 1 Devon Martinus.
Replacements: 16 Qinisile Siphatho, 17 Wiseman Kamanga, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 JP Swanepoel, 20 Jacque Pretorius, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Pieter Morton, 23 Hendrik Bredenkamp.

Referees: Gerrie de Bruin, Eduan Nel
Assistant referees: Local

Wits v UCT
(Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 19.00)

Wits: 15 Ruhan Nel, 14 Mandla Dube, 13 Divan Ferguson, 12 Brent Crossley, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Mathew Torrance, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Thato Mavundla, 6 JP Jonck, 5 Rendani  Ramovha, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Gideon Muller, 2 Ashley Kohler, 1 Hannes Ludik.
Replacements: 16 Senna Esterhuizen, 17 Kyle Wood, 18 Peter van Biljon, 19 Conor Brockschmidt, 20 Joshua Jarvis, 21 Wilton Pietersen, 22 Ish Nkolo, 23 Kelly Ferdinand.

UCT: 15 Martin Sauls, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Guy Schwikkard, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 James Alexander (captain), 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Vince Jobo, 6 Michael Botha, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Joel Carew.
Replacements: 16 Msizi Zondi, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Jason Klaasen, 19 Kyle Kriel, 20 Liam Slatem, 21 Ross Jones-Davies, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 David Maasch.

Referees: Oregopotse Rametsi, Archie Sehlako
Assistant referees: Local

Varsity Shield fixtures:

TUT Vikings v UKZN Impi
(TUT Rugby Stadium, Pretoria - Kick-off: 19.00)

UWC v Fort Hare Blues
(UWC Rugby Stadium, Bellville - Kick-off: 19.00)

Varsity Young Guns fixture:

NWU-Pukke Young Guns v UFS-Shimlas Young Guns
(Fanie du Toit Stadium - Kick-off: 16.45)

Hostel Championship fixtures:

Humanities v Cobras
(Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 16.45)

Heimat v Majuba
(Shimla Park, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 19.00)

Medies v Onderstepoort
(Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch - Kick-off: 16.45)