All Set For Crunch CT Derby
Stellenbosch-UCT Varsity Cup matches will always have a lot riding on them - even if one team seemingly has more to lose than the other, like this coming Monday's Round Six clash between the FNB Maties and the FNB Ikey Tigers.
The former champions - in maroon - and the reigning champions - in blue & white - will lock horns at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday evening (live on SuperSport One at 7pm) and their fortunes could not be more different.
The Maties, Varsity Cup champions between 2008 and 2010, are the only unbeaten team in the 2012 tournament, whilst nothing less than a bonus point victory will keep UCT's very faint hopes of a semifinal place alive, the Ikeys having just one win to show for their efforts thus far.
"It's going to be a big, big game and UCT will very psyched to pick up a win in Stellenbosch," said Maties head coach Chean Roux. "I don't care what's happened up till now - UCT will be well up for this match... it's going to be a lekker one!"
Whilst Roux will no doubt be the more confident coach heading into Monday's encounter, his opposite number Kevin Foote has had a torrid season - that after his team had a golden run in 2011.
Under Foote's coaching, the Ikeys lifted six trophies in 2011, including a first-ever Varsity Cup title and a first local club title in 37 years, but it has just not gone right for the defending champions so far in 2012. Foote, however, has not given up hope - not just ahead of Monday, but in the greater scheme of things.
"Our results haven't been good this year, it doesn't take a genius to work it out, but I really don't think we're playing that badly - it's just a few things letting us down at the moment.
"Unfortunately, any chance we might have of sneaking into the semifinals is down to other teams losing... even if we win our remaining matches," he admitted. "However, we can still control two things - and that's our next two matches - starting (next week) against the Maties."
However, the Ikeys coach had nothing but praise for the Men in Maroon, saying: "They're a quality, quality side. You just cannot argue with their unbeaten status.
"But it's not about Stellenbosch, or how well they play, it's about taking care of our own game and ensuring that we bring something to the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday evening."
Whilst UCT will be hoping for a miracle in terms of grabbing a last-gasp semifinal place, not to mention avoiding that promotion/relegation battle against the second-placed Shield team, two other teams will be keeping an eye on that clash in Stellenbosch - FNB UJ and FNB UP-Tuks.
Should the Ikeys pull off an unlikely win over the Men in Maroon (having not beaten the Maties in the Varsity Cup since 2008, then the teams in second (UJ) and third place (Tuks) would be the ones to benefit the most.
UJ are without doubt the form team in the competition at present, as they proved with their 93-0 demolition over the hapless FNB TUT Vikings last Monday, but they have a tricky outing in Potchefstroom in Round Six against the FNB NWU-Pukke, probably the favourites to grab that fourth and final semi-final place at the moment.
A win for the NWU-Pukke would all but secure that fourth place finish... but also throw a cat amongst the pigeons in terms of securing home semi-finals.
Should Pukke lose, then the surprise package of 2012, the FNB Madibaz from NMMU, will be waiting to pounce - although they have a very tough assignment this week; facing the ruthless Tuks in their own backyard.
The Pukke are presently in fourth place on the Varsity Cup log with 14 points from five matches, followed by the Madibaz on 10 points, then UCT on nine, the FNB Shimlas on six points and, finally, the winless Vikings on zero points.
Seven (Shimlas) will play eight in Bloemfontein on Monday, in the first televised game of the week (SuperSport One at 5pm); a game that the hosts will be eyeing to end their four-game losing streak, whilst TUT could mathematically still avoid automatic relegation should they return from South Africa's Judicial Capital with a victory (and follow it up with a win over NMMU a week later).
So you see, whilst the Maties-UCT match will be grabbing all the headlines in Round Six of the 2012 Varsity Cup - and rightly so - every other match has the ability to affect the final standings come 9pm on Monday.
But that should not be much of a surprise to anyone... after all, it is Rugby that Rocks in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International!
Varsity Cup fixtures and team line-ups for Monday, March 12:
FNB Shimlas vs. FNB TUT Vikings
Xerox Shimla Park (Bloemfontein)
Kick-off: 5pm (Live on SuperSport One)
Shimlas: 15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 12 Earl Snyman, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Erick Colyn, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Erik le Roux, 7 Armandt Koster, 6 Freddie Ngoza, 5 Joubert Horn, 4 Lebo Zietsman, 3 Ian Potgieter, 2 PW van Vuuren, 1 John-Henry Harris.
Replacements: 16 JC van Wyk, 17 Stephan Kotze, 18 JC Astle, 19 Fanie van der Walt, 20 Pieter Rademan, 21 Reinhardt Erwee, 22 Stephan van der Merwe, 23 Carl van Heerden.
TUT: 15 Quinton van Greunen, 14 Hagen Mumba, 13 Rikus de Beer, 12 Koos Kotze, 11 Ruan van Loo, 10 Melcolm Griffiths, 9 Manny Raposo, 8 Wikus Botes (captain), 7 Yves Basiya, 6 Ryno Coetzee, 5 Ewald Maree, 4 Gavin Engelbrecht, 3 Zandre Grobler, 2 Nathi Sethusi, 1 Dandre van der Westhuyzen.
Replacements: 16 Coert van Gerve, 17 Nico van den Heever, 18 Tinus van Wyk, 19 Peter Matthews, 20 Nico Smuts, 21 Thabo Mangena, 22 Craig van Rooi, 23 Ryno van Rooyen.
FNB Maties vs. FNB UCT
Danie Craven Stadium (Stellenbosch)
Kick-off: 7pm (Live on SuperSport One)
Maties: 15 André Smith, 14 Ryan Nell, 13 Wessel Coetzee, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 Dean Hammand, 10 André Kemp, 9 Boela Abrahams, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Helmut Lehmann (captain), 6 Sam Mabombo, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Reniel Hugo, 3 Hein van der Merwe, 2 Gareth Light, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 JP Swanepoel, 19 Nicholas de Jager, 20 Donald Stevens, 21 Jarryd Buys, 22 Clearance Khumalo, 23 Os Hamman.
UCT: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Tiger Bax, 12 Adrian Kritzinger, 11 Mark Winter, 10 Nick Holton, 9 Liam Slatem, 8 Greg Mallett, 7 Zandy Macdonald, 6 Ntsolo Setlaba (captain), 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Graham Knoop, 3 Francois van Wyk, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Wes Chetty.
Replacements: 16 Matt Page, 17 Adriaan Botha, 18 Brad Bosman, 19 James Kilroe, 20 Nick Farrar, 21 Paul Cohen, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 Mini Bhengu.
FNB UP-Tuks vs. FNB NMMU
Tuks Rugby Stadium (Pretoria)
Tuks: 15 Wynand Pienaar, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Dabeon Draghoender, 11 Hayden Groepes, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Clayton Stewart, 8 Okkie Kruger, 7 Daniel Adongo, 6 Jacques Verwey, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Mike Williams, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Zane Botha (captain), 1 Sabelo Nhlapo.
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Sthembiso Mlongo, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Rudi van Rooyen, 21 Fanie Booysen, 22 Courtnal Skousan, 23 Basil Short.
NMMU: 15 Martin du Toit, 14 Mayibuye Ndwandwa, 13 Quinton Crocker (vice-captain), 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Eckard Jacobs, 10 Bradley Kretzman, 9 Anton Verster, 8 Jaco Swanepoel (captain), 7 André Goosen, 6 Ulrich Pretorius, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Dexter Fahey, 2 Kobus Greeff, 1 Gareth Hartley.
Replacements: 16 Francois Coetzer, 17 Roy Godfrey, 18 Timothy Agaba, 19 Thomasau Forbes, 20 Marlin Ruiters, 21 Carl van Niekerk, 22 Devon Lailvaux, 23 Phillip Nel.
FNB NWU-Pukke vs. FNB UJ
Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, Potchefstroom
NWU-Pukke: 15 Malan van der Merwe, 14 Andrew van Wyk, 13 Ruan Jacobs, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Joe Seerane, 10 Gerhard Nortier, 9 Tiaan Dorfling, 8 Spanner Pretorius, 7 Ernie Strydom, 6 Philip de Wet, 5 Victor Kruger, 4 Siyanda Ndlovu, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 JC Oberholzer, 1 Henry Scharneck.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Lodewyk Uys, 19 Siya Mdaka, 20 Andries Botha, 21 SW Oosthuizen, 22 Terswin Raubenheimer, 23 Zander de Kock.
UJ: 15 Aubrey McDonald, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Justin St. Jerry, 12 Divan van Zyl, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Worsie Kotze, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Justin Wheeler (captain), 7 Wendal Wehr, 6 Johan van Deventer, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Jaco Vermeulen, 2 Shaun Malton, 1 Heinrich Terblanche.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Njabulo Mkize, 18 Marnus van Huyssteen, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Guy Cronjé, 22 Luan Steenkamp, 23 Wessel du Rand.
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