Varsity Cup preview: Round 4
It will be a clash of Varsity Cup titans on Monday night when defending champions UP-Tuks host log-leaders Maties in a replay of last year's final.
Since their opening-round defeat to NWU-Pukke in Potchefstroom the star-studded UP-Tuks side has been steadily building up some momentum with victories over UCT and UFS Shimlas, but their clash with the unbeaten Maties - which will be televised live on Supersport One - will provide a true test of how far they have come.
The Men from Stellenbosch were forced to work hard for their victory over NMMU last week, but the character they showed to secure a tense victory against the Madibaz proved that they are the team to beat this season.
Maties coach Chris Rossouw knows that his team will be up against it away from home, and has instructed his charges to have a full go in the big North-South clash at the Tuks Rugby Stadium.
"We know that Tukkies are the favourites going into the match, so I've told the players that they have nothing to lose and that they must give it their all," he said ahead of their Round-Four meeting in the 2013 Varsity Cup tournament.
The other televised game on Monday will see the first-ever Varsity Cup Johannesburg derby when newcomers Wits search for their first victory against local rivals UJ.
Wits suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of NWU-Pukke at home last week, and their coach Andy Royle knows that they need an 80-minute performance if they are to compete with a UJ side that will be full of confidence following their convincing victory over UCT in Cape Town last week.
In Port Elizabeth, the NMMU Madibaz will be looking to build on their spirited display against Maties last week when they take on a UFS-Shimlas side low on confidence after consecutive defeats at home.
The Eastern Cape side enjoyed the support of a 12,000-strong crowd at their last home game, and coach Brent Janse van Rensburg is determined to see his team reward their loyal supporters with a big performance.
"One thing you can be assured of, the NMMU men will always give of their best and we will work hard to try and convert our performances into a win for our supporters," he said.
The UCT Ikey Tigers will be looking for their first win of the season when they travel to Potchefstroom to face a NWU-Pukke side that will be riding high on confidence following their massive Round Three victory over Wits.
Another defeat will be a hammer blow for the Ikeys' semifinal ambitions, so they will throw everything at NWU-Pukke who will be relishing the chance to play in front of their home fans again after two weeks on the road.
In the Varsity Shield, meanwhile, the TUT Vikings will be desperate to secure their first victory in the competition when they take on Peter de Villiers's UWC outfit in Pretoria.
UWC went down to Fort Hare in heartbreaking fashion in Alice last week, so they will be motivated to show that they can produce the goods away from home.
The Fort Hare Blues will be out to keep their momentum at home going when they welcome the UKZN Impi to the Davidson Rugby Stadium. The Impi are fresh off their bye week and are ready to make a push for a place in the final in the second half of the season.
In the Varsity Young Guns competition, NMMU's youngsters will be out to bounce back from their defeat to the UCT Trojans in Cape Town last week when they host Maties in Port Elizabeth, whilst Wits and NWU-Pukke will both be looking for a fast start to the season when they do battle in Potchefstroom.
The Koshuisrugby Championship will have a big North-South derby of its own when Medies from Stellenbosch do battle with Mopanie in a curtain-raiser to the big Varsity Cup clash in Pretoria.
In the other Koshuis encounters, Villagers will be out to start their campaign on a winning note at home against Northernz, and Commerce Wits will be looking to come back from their heavy defeat last week when they host Bastion in a curtain-raiser to the big Varsity Cup derby in Johannesburg.
Varsity Cup fixtures:
Wits v UJ, Wits Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm (Live on TV)
Wits: 15 Greg Blom, 14 Jacques Erasmus, 13 Kayde Fisher, 12 Jared Meyer, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Kyle Peyper, 9 Brent Crossley, 8 Carel Greef, 7 Rinus Bothma, 6 Thato Mavundla, 5 Charles Baggot, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Phakamilu Zuma, 2 Pierce Cooper, 1 Hannes Ludik.
Replacements: 16 Rory Anderson, 17 Bradley van Niekerk, 18 Katlego Ntsie, 19 Jason Fraser, 20 Mathew Torrance, 21 Nkuli Gamede, 22 Josh Durbach, 23 Katlego Kgame.
UJ: 15 Kobus De Kock, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Bradley Moolman, 12 Luan Steenkamp, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Divan van Zyl, 9 Vian van der Watt, 8 RJ Liebenberg, 7 Justin Wheeler (captain), 6 Kobus Porter, 5 Johan van der Hoogt, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Wiseman Kamanga.
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Wessel Du Rand, 18 David Antonites, 19 Philip Marole, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Adriaan Vermeulen, 22 Tommy Damba, 23 Njabulo Mkize.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
UP-Tuks v Maties, Tuks Rugby Stadium - 7pm (Live on TV)
UP-Tuks: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Riaan Britz, 13 William Small-Smith (captain), 12 Christopher Bosch, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Jacques Verwey, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Hencus Van Wyk, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Basil Short, 18 Schalk Van Heerden, 19 Wesley Kotze, 20 Clayton Stewart, 21 Handre Pollard, 22 Piet Lindeque, 23 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Clearance Khumalo, 13 Mark Hodgkiss, 12 Ryan Nell, 11 Dean Hammond, 10 JH Potgieter, 9 James Alexander, 8 Reniel Hugo, 7 Lungelo Chonco, 6 Helmut Lehmann (captain), 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Brendon Pitzer, 2 Neethling Gericke, 1 Alister Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Charl de Villiers, 17 Hein van der Merwe, 18 Jurie van Vuuren, 19 Beyers de Villiers, 20 Jean Nel, 21 Dean Grant, 22 JP Lewis, 23 Niel Oelofse.
Referee: Ben Crouse
NWU-Pukke v UCT, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground - 7pm
NWU-Pukke: 15 Hoffman Maritz, 14 SW Oosthuizen, 13 Sylvian Mahuza, 12 Hennie Skorbinski, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Gerhard Nortier, 9 Jaco Grobler, 8 SJ Niemand, 7 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 6 Phillip de Wet, 5 Victor Kruger (captain), 4 Danie Jordaan, 3 Herman Basson, 2 JC Oberholzer, 1 Martin Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Arno Ebersohn, 18 Molotsi Bouwer, 19 HP Swart, 20 Tiaan Dorfling, 21 Rowayne Beukman, 22 Justin Botha, 23 Mashudu Mafela.
UCT: 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Nicholas Loizides, 12 David Ambunya, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dillyn Leyds, 9 Liam Slatem (captain), 8 Joshua Katzen, 7 Ntsolo Setlaba, 6 Kyle Kriel, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Derek Asbun, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Bradley Bosman, 19 Jason Klaasen, 20 Rick Schroeder, 21 Paul Cohen, 22 Justin Coles, 23 Digby Webb.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
NMMU v Shimlas, NMMU Stadium - 7pm
NMMU: 15 Jarred Buys, 14 Mayibuye Ndwandwa, 13 Gerhardus Smith, 12 Xolani Mnisi, 11 Logan Basson, 10 Justin Van Staden, 9 Dwayne Kelly, 8 Timothy Agaba, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Albertus de Swardt, 5 Schalk Oelofse, 4 Louis Fourie, 3 Gareth Hartley, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).
Replacements: 16 Francois Coetzer, 17 Dexter Fahey, 18 Maruis Oosthuizen, 19 Mzwanale Zito, 20 Lesley-Dean Luiters, 21 Hermanus van Lill, 22 Lonwabo Ntleki, 23 Lizo Gqoboka.
UFS-Shimlas: 15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Maphutha Dolo, 13 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 12 Reinhardt Erwee, 11 Divandre Strydom, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Renier Botha, 8 Erik le Roux, 7 Teboho Mohoje (captain), 6 Freddie Ngoza, 5 JC Astle, 4 Fanie van der Walt, 3 Carl van Heerden, 2 Elandre Hugget, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 JC van Wyk, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Lebo Zietsman, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Hlanlha Hlongwane, 21 Sethu Tom, 22 Stephan van der Merwe, 23 Luan de Bruin.
Referee: Lusanda Jam
Varsity Shield fixtures:
UFH v UKZN, Davidson Rugby Stadium - 7pm
TUT v UWC, TUT Stadium - 7pm
Koshuisrugby championship fixtures:
Commerce v Bastion, Wits Rugby Stadium - 3pm
Mopanie v Medies, Tuks Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm
Villagers v Northernz, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds - 4.45pm
Varsity Young Guns fixtures:
NWU-Pukke v Wits, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds - 4.45pm
NMMU v Maties Jrs, NMMU Stadium - 4.45pm