All to play for in Pretoria

Tuks host log-leaders Maties in what should be a gripping replay of last year’s final in tonight’s 4th round of the Varsity Cup.

Since their opening-round defeat to Pukke, Tuks have been steadily building momentum with victories over UCT and Shimlas, but their clash with the unbeaten Maties will provide a true test of how far they have come.

Maties were forced to work hard for their victory over NMMU last week, but the character they showed to secure a tense victory proved that they are the team to beat this year.

Maties coach Chris Rossouw hauled out the classic underdog chestnut to motivate his players: “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”.

The first-ever Varsity Cup Johannesburg derby sees newcomers Wits searching for their first victory against UJ. Wits suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Pukke at last week, and will need a Kings like miracle 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, NMMU will be looking to build on their spirited display against Maties last week when they take on a 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.

UCT will be looking for their first win of the season when they travel to Potchefstroom to face a Pukke side riding high following their massive victory over Wits. Another defeat will be a hammer blow for the Ikeys’ semifinal ambitions, should those even remain on the table.

In the Varsity Shield, TUT will be desperate to secure their first victory in the competition when they take on UWC in Pretoria, and Fort Hare welcome UKZN to the Davidson Rugby Stadium.

Fixtures and team line-ups – Monday, February 25

Wits v UJ, Wits Rugby Stadium – 4.45pm (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.

Bench: 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.

Bench: 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


Tuks v Maties, Tuks Rugby Stadium – 7pm (TV)

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.

Bench: 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.

Bench: 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


Pukke v UCT, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground – 7pm

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.

Bench: 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.

Bench: 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).   

Bench: 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.

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.

Bench: 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