PREVIEW: VARSITY CUP, ROUND SEVEN
As is the FNB Varsity Cup’s won’t, especially as the tournament reaches the ‘business end’, Round 7 is full of mouth-watering ties.
FNB WITS VS FNB UCT IKEY TIGERS
(Wits Rugby Stadium – Kick-off: 16.45)
If you take a look at the FNB Varsity Cup log, this would be an easy match to predict – fifth-placed FNB UCT Ikey Tigers should beat eighth-placed FNB Wits. That, though, would be too simplistic.
UCT has won twice so far this season, but both have come at the ‘Green Mile’ so their trip to Wits Rugby Stadium will test their resolve. They’re also on a two-game losing run… both away. Nonetheless, those facts haven’t lessened the confidence in the playoff-chasing Ikey Tigers’ camp.
“We are confident going into FNB Wits, we want to get a ‘W’ under the belt, but we aren’t thinking about that,” UCT captain Josh Moon tells varsitycup.co.za.
“We are thinking about going away, getting the five points, coming home, and then onto the next game. We aren’t going to underestimate them.”
Wits, whose only win so far against FNB CUT came at home, might beg to differ – not least because they got the better of UCT in 2017 and 2018 (when they reached the playoffs).
FNB Wits: 15 Jared Fuller, 14 Dan Kasende, 13 Sicelo Champion, 12 Adriaan van Blerk, 11 Anele Makongolo, 10 Christian Humphries, 9 Runaldo Pedro, 8 Phillip Krause, 7 Cal Smidt, 6 Constant Beckerling, 5 Kevin du Randt, 4 Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt, 3 Luyolo Qinela, 2 Cecil Conradie, 1 Bhekisa Shongwe.
Replacements: 16 Justin Brandon, 17 Craig Hume, 18 Ebot Buma, 19 Pascal Snyman, 20 Sipho Siboza, 21 Ruan Cloete, 22 Moemisi Mosheledi, 23 Yanga Hlalu.
FNB UCT Ikey Tigers
Not yet confirmed
FNB UWC VS FNB UJ
(UWC Sports Ground – Kick-off: 18.30)
FNB UWC, still winless in their debut season, are now at a stage where they have to fix the problems within their control. A tournament-high six yellow cards and a sending off points to an area where Chester Williams’ charges have not helped their cause.
“Going forward for Monday, we are looking for better discipline and upping the tempo of our game and just being positive and getting the ‘W’, FNB UWC captain Adrian Paarwater tells varsity cup.co.za ahead of their home clash against FNB UJ.
UJ, losing semifinalists in the previous three years, is having a disappointing season too. They’re in seventh and their only win came in the Johannesburg derby, but they should be buoyed by how they made FNB Maties work hard for their win last week.
FNB UJ captain, Adriaan Bester, confirmed as much before contemplating their return to the Cape for Monday evening’s clash.
“We had a great performance against FNB Maties but had every opportunity to win the game. Just a lack of composure in the last 15 minutes,” Bester told varsitycup.co.za.
“We are taking a lot of positives out of that game, but can still be better.”
FNB UWC: 15 Tristan Leyds, 14 Sthsaba Mqhatu, 13 Lubelo Scott, 12 Lyle Hendricks, 11 Andre Manuel, 10 Aidynn Cupido, 9 Clayton Daniels, 8 Adrian Paarwater, 7 Reece Boks, 6 Bronlee Mouries, 5 Curtly Thomas, 4 Matthew le Roux, 3 Justin Theys, 2 Jacques van Zyl, 1 Luvo Bazi.
Replacements: 16 Luan du Randt, 17 Alexander Mbete, 18 Tyler Gessler, 19 Rohaan Adams, 20 Moegamat Kannemeyer, 21 Keagan Fortune, 22 Darren Jaftha, 23 Hendrik Calitz.
Not yet confirmed
FNB CUT IXIAS VS FNB SHIMLAS
(CUT Rugby Stadium – Kick-off: 18.30)
Derby matches are always difficult to call and no more so than when both teams have as much to play for as will be the case in Bloemfontein on Monday evening.
Visitors FNB Shimlas currently sit in fourth place but will be desperate to extend the four-point buffer between them and fifth-placed UCT Ikey Tigers. A win would also keep their playoff fate in their own hands as their last two pool matches are against FNB NWU and UCT – the teams above and below them.
FNB CUT Ixias, meanwhile, is in sixth place but a win would put them right on the tail of Shimlas and in with a chance of reaching their first ever FNB Varsity Cup playoffs.
Their captain, Rayno Nel has been looking forward to this clash – their confidence boosted by a bonus-point win last time out at FNB UWC.
“Facing our neighbours is always something extra special compared to normal pool games,” Nel told varsitycup.co.za.
“A win comes with extra bragging rights. We know FNB Shimlas quite well and know they play an exciting brand of rugby with a high tempo.”
FNB CUT: 15 Cohen Jasper, 14 Dimitrio Tieties, 13 Ruan Wasserman, 12 Marnu van Niekerk, 11 Erasmus Breedt, 10 Heinrich Bitzi, 9 Johannes Hattingh, 8 Gerhardus Nel, 7 Luvuyo Ndevu, 6 Ruan Smit, 5 Rayno Nel, 4 Sylvester Makakole, 3 Tebogo Masemola, 2 Anrich Alberts, 1 Edward Davids.
Replacements: 16 Ruben Cross, 17 Quintin Vorster, 18 Hendrik Smit, 19 Brendon Fortuin, 20 Stefan Kruger, 21 Jaco Wilkinson, 22 Marc Morrison, 23 Jason Raubenheimer.
Not yet confirmed
FNB NWU VS FNB UP-TUKS
(Fanie du Toit Sports Ground – Kick-off: 19.00)
Having both only lost to log-leaders FNB Maties (who have a bye this round), FNB NWU and FNB UP-Tuks will get an opportunity to lay down a marker ahead of a possible semifinal in three weeks time.
As it happens, both teams’ captains were in a complimentary mood this week ahead of this highly-anticipated clash in Potchefstroom.
NWU captain Louis van der Westhuizen, whose team are currently five points worse off than UP-Tuks in third, praised the visitors’ allround strength.
“I think FNB UP-Tuks is a well-balanced side, Van der Westhuizen told varsitycup.co.za. “They have good forwards that can maul and scrum, and they have backs that can run with the ball, so it will have to be an overall good performance by us.”
UP-Tuks captain Marius Verwey is also under no illusions as to what to expect on Monday night, both on and off the field.
“It’s always a pleasure to play NWU in Potchefstroom because there is always lekker gees and we are looking forward to the challenge. NWU is a very physical team and we have worked very hard this week to be prepared for their onslaught.
FNB NWU: 15 Shane van Rooyen, 14 Lungelo Goa, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 AK Nela, 11 Lincoln Daniels, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Wian Conradie, 7 Reuben du Plooy, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Jan du Plooy, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Matimu Manganyi, 2 Louis ‘Chucky’ van der Westhuizen, 1 Botter Moloto
Replacements: 16 Marius Stander, 17 Nelius Theron, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Wandile Mazibuko, 20 Edmund Rheeder, 21 Eugene Hare, 22 BF van Staden, 23 Nkululeko Mcuma
FNB UP-Tuks: 15 Damian Bonaparte, 14 Irvin Ali, 13 Lourens Pretorius, 12 Erich Cronje, 11 Ciaran Dayaran, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Theo Maree, 8 Denzel Hill, 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Stephan Smit, 5 Ruan Nortjé, 4 Marius Verwey, 3 JP Smith, 2 Cornelius Grobbelaar, 1 Etienne Janeke
Replacements: 16 Werner Fourie, 17 Jacobus Eloff, 18 Bart le Roux, 19 Brian Leitch, 20 Raegan Oranje, 21 Christo Hamman, 22 Xolisa Guma, 23 Mihlali Stamper