After round 2 of this year’s instalment of the Steinhoff Varsity Cup was completed last Monday on Valentine’s Day, there was very little love on the field with Maties coach , Chean Roux, who tweeted during their surprise loss to Shimlas saying it was “Brutal out there”. Elsewhere there were more surprises with TUT showing that they are not just here to make up numbers as they got their biggest win of their Varsity Cup career with a derby victory over Tuks. Down in the windy city UJ had to survive a late NMMU onslaught to just win with the PE side showing some never before seen guts. Finally, UCT continued their good start to the season by easily beating Pukke. Pukke might be looking for a new coach soon as they were expected to be more competitive this year.
To round 3 and the pick of the fixtures:
The fixture of the week will undoubtedly be the game between TUT and Maties in Pretoria. The 3-time defending Varsity Cup champions looking to get their season back on track after the shock of losing to Shimlas. After speaking to a Maties player involved in the fixture, it was apparent that the whole team were disappointed with their effort. He furthermore said that they have put in some extra training this week to improve their performance for Monday’s fixture. In terms of the teams TUT have made one change from the team that beat Tuks by bringing back first choice scrumhalf Manny Raposo. Maties made four changes with WP u21 centre Berton Classen coming into the team along with Chris van Zyl at lock, Os Hamman at prop and Meyer Swanepoel at flank.
My Prediction: Maties will be looking to stage a comeback but TUT are looking good this year, Maties to win by 5points.
In the second fixture of the week UJ will entertain Maties conquerors Shimlas in Johannesburg. Shimlas will be looking to build on their victory against an unbeaten UJ on Monday. UJ were unimpressive against NMMU and were lucky to beat the PE boys and will be looking for more fight to beat Shimlas who were inspired and the better team against Maties in round 2. The question however is how the Shimlas team travels. The road can be a very different ball game and all the Shimlas metal will be tested by a good UJ team. UJ make five changes with ex-Matie Cameron Peverett getting his first start. Elsewhere there are changes in the front row and scrum half for UJ. Shimlas have been hit hard with influential captain Willem Britz out and Etienne Terblanche comes in for him being the only change for Shimlas.
My Prediction: UJ to win by 1 or 2 points.
The next game is Tuks versus Pukke which is a game between the big underachievers this year. Tuks will be very disappointed with their derby lose to TUT. They have been tipped this year as the team to beat in the Varsity Cup and will be trying to forget they conceded 40-odd points against a TUT team expected to finish well down the table. Now to Pukke and the question is where to now for Pukke? After being well beaten in both games by Maties then UCT now leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table with 0points from 2games and with a lot of work and probably soul searching to be done by the team. The real problem is that they have been very uninspiring in their losses and almost seem to be just going through the motions. In team news, Tuks make three changes with two injuries and a suspension for Jean du-Plessis for his horrendous spear tackle last week which he received a red card for. Pukke make one change with Johan Oberholzer coming in at hooker.
My Prediction: Tuks to win by 5points.
In the final fixture of round 3, NMMU travel to UCT. NMMU are trying to recreate their second half performance and UCT are trying to keep their unbeaten start to the season going. This fixture is also in honur of Monte Taljaard who died in 2008 in a car accident. Taljaard played for UCT and attended Grey PE. Both universities decided to honour the talented flank with a trophy. UCT have been the best team in this year’s Varsity Cup but the boys from Cape Town may be warned not to start celebrating too quickly, this Varsity Cup is far from over. NMMU nearly came back last week to beat UJ and probably should have, if not for a try saving tackle denying them the victory. UCT on the other hand were dominant again in their win over Pukke and will be looking to continue in their winning ways. Team news for UCT sees them making three changes with Nic Groom coming back at scrumhalf and Ricky Rijs coming in for the once again injured Tiger Bax. The final change is Pete Haw returning at wing. NMMU keep an unchanged team for this fixture.
My Prediction: UCT will be too strong and will win by 15points