7 teams fight for 4 places

With 7 of the 8 Varsity Cup sides still in the running for the semifinals, there will be no shortage of intensity in tonight’s penultimate 6th round of action.

The only team without a chance of making the semifinals is winless Wits who face another major challenge as they travel to Potchefstroom to take on log-leaders Pukke in what will probably be a fairly one-sided TV game.

Pukke are coming off consecutive away wins against NMMU and defending champions Tuks, so they will be aiming for a bonus-point victory in front of their home crowd to extend their lead at the top of the standings.

Down in Cape Town the third-placed Ikey Tigers will be looking for their first home win of the season when they look to tame both the fourth-placed Shimlas and the notorious wind on the Green Mile.

The Ikeys are unbeaten on the road this season but have not had as much success at home, and they will be tested once again by a Shimlas team that held Maties to a draw in a windy Stellenbosch last week.

Maties have been very erratic this year and find themselves down in sixth position, but well within striking distance of the top four, and they are up against a desperate UJ side who have just one win to show for their efforts this season.

Despite their troubles this year, UJ’s hopes of making the semifinals are not over so expect them to have a full go in front of their home crowd with their campaign effectively on the line.

Tuks will be looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season to Pukke last week when they host NMMU in Pretoria. The Madibaz find themselves in fifth place after their tough (and messy) win over Wits last week, and they face another difficult assignment against a Tuks team that will be smarting after the home defeat.

Double Varsity Young Guns champions Tuks will be out to extend their remarkable unbeaten record when they host Pukke in Pretoria. Pukke beat Wits, but face the true test of their play-off credentials from the big Tuks outfit. Over in Johannesburg it will be a battle between two unbeaten teams when UJ host the Maties in a match that is likely to decide who finishes top of their pool.

In the Varsity Shield Fort Hare will be looking to do a rare season double over two-time champions CUT. The Eastern Cape side handed CUT their first defeat since 2012 earlier this season, so the Ixias will be out for revenge when they meet in Alice. The bottom two sides in the competition – TUT and UWC – will be looking to make a late charge up the standings when they meet in Pretoria. UWC edged UKZN last week, and they will be hoping to back that up against a TUT side that is low on confidence after three consecutive defeats.

Teams and match details for Monday, March 10:

Pukke v Wits (Potchefstroom – Kick-off: 16.45 live on TV)

Pukke: TBC

Wits: 15 Ruhan Nel, 14 Mandla Dube, 13 Divan Ferguson, 12 Brent Crossley, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Mathew Torrance, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Senna Esterhuizen, 6 J.P. Jonck, 5 Rendani Ramovha, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Gideon Muller, 2 Ashley Kohler, 1 Hannes Ludick.

Replacements: 16 James Marx, 17 Kyle Wood, 18 Conor Brockschmidt, 19 Peter van Biljon, 20 Joshua Jarvis, 21 Ish Nkolo, 22 Joshua Jarvis, 23 Ferdinand Kelly.

Referees: Jaco Kotze, Jaco Pretorius

Assistant referees: Local

TMO: Johan Greeff


UCT v Shimlas (UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town – Kick-off: 17.00)

UCT: 15 Ross Jones Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Guy Shwikard, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Liam Slatem (captain), 8 Michael Botha, 7 Vince Jobo, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Joel Carew.

Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Guy Alexander, 19 Kyle Kriel, 20 James Alexander, 21 Martin Sauls, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 David Maasch.

Shimlas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Maphuta Dolo, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Divandre Strydom, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Justin Pappin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Franco van der Merwe.

Replacements: 16 Markus Odendaal, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Johan van der Hoogt, 19 Neill Jordaan, 20 Kay-Kay Hlongwane, 21 Francois du Toit, 22 Sethu Tom, 23 Gideon Bruwer.

Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Quinton Immelman


UJ v Maties (UJ Stadium, Kick-off: 19.00 live on TV)

UJ: 15 Marais Schmidt, 14 PJ Walters, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Michael Haznar, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Jacques Pretorius (captain), 8 Dylan Peterson, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Kobus Porter, 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Van Zyl Botha, 2 Jannes Snyman, 1 Devon Marthinus.

Replacements: 16 Qinisile Siphato, 17 Wiseman Kamanga, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 JP Swanepoel, 20 Lukas van Zyl, 21 Juan Kotze, 22 Pieter Morton, 23 Hendrik Bredenkamp.

Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Clearance Khumalo, 13 Mark Hodgskiss, 12 Jacobus Loubser, 11 Caleb Smith, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jean Nel, 8 Tertius Daniller (captain), 7 Justin Benn, 6 Beyers de Villiers, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Nicol Heyns, 2 Charl de Villiers, 1 Niel Oelofse.

Replacements: 16 Neethling Gericke, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Ian Groenewald, 19 Helmut Lehmann, 20 Bjorn Bernardo, 21 Chris Smith, 22 John Durr, 23 Liam Hendricks.

Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Tahla Ntshakaza

Assistant referees: Local

TMO: Willie Roos


Tuks v NMMU (Tuks Rugby Stadium, Pretoria – Kick-off: 19.00)

Tuks: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Ryan Nell, 11 Kefentse Mahlo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Reniel Hugo (captain), 7 Rudolph Smith, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Basil Short, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Juan Schoeman.

Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Jannes Kirsten, 19 Leneve Damens, 20 Emile Temperman, 22 Francois Tredoux, 22 Duncan Matthews, 23 Andrew Beerwinkel.

NMMU: 15 Jarryd Buys, 14 Tythan Adams, 13 Michael Bernardt, 12 Andile Jho, 11 Yamkela Ngam, 10 Gavin Hauptfleisch, 9 Daniel Acker, 8 Marcel Groenewald, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6  Christopher Cloete, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Louis Fourie, 3 Dexter Fahey, 2 Jody Reyneke, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).

Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Abongile Mnyaka, 18 Tim Agaba, 19 Wade Elliot, 20 Kayle van Zyl, 21 Devon Lailvaux, 22 Sinakho Mafu, 23 Simon Kerrod.

Referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Oregopotse Rametsi


Young Guns fixtures:

Tuks v Pukke (Tuks Rugby Stadium, Pretoria – Kick-off: 14.30)

UJ v Maties (UJ Stadium, Johannesburg – Kick-off: 16.45)


Shield fixtures:

TUT v UWC (TUT Rugby Stadium, Pretoria – Kick-off: 19.00)

Fort Hare v CUT (Davidson Rugby Stadium, Alice – Kick-off: 19.00)