After the first week of Varsity Cup being completed on Monday, this year’s contenders all pulled of victories except for Pukke and Shimlas.
Results for Week 1:
Ikeys beat Shimlas (26 – 10)
Maties beat Pukke (32 – 6)
UJ beat TUT (33 – 23)
Tuks beat NMMU (37 – 8)
Here are the round 2 fixtures with what to expect:
NMMU will be hosting UJ down in the Eastern Cape looking to bounce back after they got run over by a much better looking Tuks team this year. I think it’s clear to everyone that NMMU just don’t have the rugby talent again this year to challenge for even a knockout place let alone the cup. NMMU have made changes three changes to their team and will be looking for a better defensive effort from the team. UJ on the other hand come off a victory over TUT in which they had to battle from behind. For UJ to continue to win throughout this year’s competition, they will need to cut down on the mistakes they made against TUT. UJ have also made two changes to the team that overcame TUT last week.
My Prediction: UJ to win by a fair amount, probably over 20points.
The next game should be a good battle with UCT travelling to Pukke. UCT opened their 2011 campaign with a well earned victory over Shimlas in Bloemfontein. This will give them a lot of confidence to go on and really challenge for the Varsity Cup this year. UCT have made three changes to their team including bringing back Stormers and Western Province player, Tiger Bax, at outside centre. Now to Pukke, after a lacklustre performance against defending champions, Maties, where the only points they scored were from two drop-goals, they will be looking to make a much improved performance with more emphasis on attacking which they did very little of at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday. So it’s not very surprising Pukke have made four changes to their line-up for the match against UCT.
My Prediction: It’s going to be close but Ikeys should take it by 5-10points
The penultimate game of round 2 will be Tuks hosting TUT in a Pretoria derby which is always something special. Starting with Tuks, the performance against NMMU may have looked impressive but after all it’s NMMU. The real challenge will start now for Tuks to really see if they are indeed knockout spot material. Tuks have made three changes to their starting line up and an interesting positional change with Captain and flyhalf, Wesley Dunlop, moving to inside centre. TUT was somewhat of a surprise package after round 1 nearly having beaten UJ. TUT seem to have put a lot of effort into training before the start of the Varsity Cup, and it seems to be paying off. I wouldn’t say that they are contenders in any way but they have made a vast improvement from last year. TUT go into the clash with Tuks with an unchanged team.
My Prediction: Derbies are always tight, Tuks to win by 3 points
Finally, the last game of round 2 will be between Maties and Shimlas in Bloemfontein. After their loss to UCT in a game where they never looked like winning, Shimlas will be looking for a much improved performance. There’s not much else to say except their whole game needs to improve otherwise they might find themselves as spectators as Maties crushes them. Shimlas have however kept the same team, probably looking for consistency. Maties, after a poor first half display against Pukke turned the game around with four tries in the second half to collect the bonus point and show that once again this year they are the team to beat. Maties have made three changes with teenage sensation Tshotsho Mbovane, Grant Hattingh and Andrew Prior coming into the side.
My Prediction: Maties to win by 15points