Not only is this a bitter rivalry dating back centuries between these two Universities in everything they do, it may very well be the deciding game as to where the final of the 2011 Varsity Cup will be held. Not only are these two teams the most successful teams in the whole Varsity Cup, with two of the three finals being played between them, but they look to be the best teams in this year’s competition. There really is no comparing success in the competition as Maties have yet to not win the Varsity Cup but UCT look like the real deal this year having put a lot of effort into this season. The game this year will be played at the Green Mile or should we say the Brown Mile with its non-existent stadium and lights which are about as useful as a pair of shorts in the North Pole. To be honest I’ve seen better rural fields in better condition than the Green Mile. None the less the game should produce some really quality rugby with both teams looking to get an advantage over the other before the knockout stages.
Starting with UCT, their team has seen only one change being made with Varsity Cup veteran Don Armand coming in for last week’s man of the match, Eben Etzebeth, who is missing out due to injury. On the bench providing back up will be Brad Bosman. Maties have made two changes to the starting line-up with Western Province prop Buhle Mxunyelwa coming in for Alistar Vermaak who has dropped to the bench. In the other changes dynamic 8th man Tertius Daniller comes back in for Meyer Swanepoel who is injured and finally stalwart fly-half Andre Kemp comes back in for Jody Rose. On the bench Grant Hattingh, the tall, ball running flank from the Eastern Cape returns to the bench after an impressive replacement job against TUT setting up a try.
The key players for this game will most likely be Demetri Catrakilis for UCT and captain for Maties Callie Visagie. A lot has been mentioned about Catrakilis and this will be a real test of his ability against a very good Maties backline and more importantly fly half, Andre Kemp. Kemp does very little wrong and Catrakilis will have to be on the top of his game. Callie Visagie has without a doubt been Maties star performer this year along with fullback Ruan Combrink. The Maties captain not only leads from the front but is a constant threat as both a ball carrier and defensive wall. Other players to watch out for will be Nick Fenton-Wells, the UCT captain, as well as outside centre Therlow Pieterson who both have the undoubted ability to completely change a game in the blink of an eye. Maties will be looking to their pack of forwards to get them on the front foot and allow the backline with the likes of Ryan Nell and Tythan Adams to score the tries. This is evident as both the Maties wings are on the first page of the Top Try Scorers. The deciding factor I think in the end will be whether the UCT forwards can hold up against arguably the best pack in the Varsity Cup. One thing is for certain that this game will be very tight with lots of running rugby.
My Prediction: Maties to win by 5-12points