Preview: Varsity Shield Final
The unbeaten CUT Ixias will host their second consecutive Varsity Shield Final when they take on UWC in Bloemfontein on Monday.
The Ixias have played in every single Varsity Shield Final, winning the inaugural tournament and then going down to Wits last year, but it is unchartered territory for their opponents UWC.
The Cape side have shown more consistency under the guidance of former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers this season, and his counterpart Skillie Bester knows that UWC will have nothing to lose in Bloemfontein in a match being televised live on Supersport One at 4.45pm.
"They have got nothing to lose, even if they lose the final they will say 'Ja but those guys [CUT] haven't lost' so the pressure is on us because even if we win it then people will say 'Ja but you were supposed to win it'," he explained.
While CUT may have earned the right to host the final, the memory of last year when Wits beat them in front of their home crowd is still fresh so they will be taking nothing for granted.
"As we all know a final is a final - it is a new game and everything up to now is out of the window so the pressure will be on both teams to perform," said Bester.
Although they have swept all before them this season, Bester still believes his team is capable of playing better and has been working hard on their defence ahead of the final.
"The defence is not where we want it, we don't want to give away tries which we have done throughout the whole season. In all our games we have given away one or two soft tries and we are working on the defence ahead of the final," he said.
De Villiers has named the same team that put Fort Hare away in Bellville last week, and they will be out to prove that they can get the job done on the road.
CUT: 15 Kholo Ramashala, 14 Charles Hitchcock, 13 Johan van Schalkwyk, 12 Leon Pretorius, 11 Meyer van Tonder, 10 Noël Marx, 9 Inus Kritzinger (captain), 8 Juan Hugo, 7 Frans Sisita, 6 Moekoa Bolofo, 5 Andrew Bester, 4 Johan Klopper, 3 Danie van der Merwe, 2 Deon Gouws, 1 Carl Gersbach.
Replacements: 16 Anrich Bitzi, 17 Rudi Fuls, 18 Levette Shikwambana, 19 Dean Kauprihanoff, 20 Christoph Swanepoel, 21 Alec Mhlango, 22 Maphelo Mpondo, 23 Petri Coetzee.
UWC: 15 Warrick Rhoda, 14 Donovan Williams, 13 Kenwin Weiner, 12 Justin Mckay, 11 Minenhle Mthethwa, 10 Frederick Muller, 9 Denzel Willemse, 8 Njabulo Ndlovu, 7 Jose Julies, 6 Jaycee Jooste, 5 Pallo Manuel, 4 Methetheleli Fuzani, 3 Kelvin de Bruyn, 2 Charlton van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Michael September.
Replacements: 16 Ludwe Ntlokondala, 17 Siphiwokuhle Bakeni, 18 Samuel Borsah, 19 Sebenza Maphumulo, 20 Charl van Vollenhoven, 21 Yondela Stampu, 22 Quaid Langeveldt, 23 Heinrich Marcus.
Date: Monday, April 1
Venue: CUT Rugby Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Stephan Geldenhuys
Assistant referees: Oregopotse Rametsi, Local
TMO: Johan Greeff