The Varsity Cup action in round 5 will heat up as defending champions, Maties travell to the table topping UCT in the Cape Derby which should be a hard tight game of rugby at the Green Mile. In other fixtures there will be a bottom of the table clash between NMMU and TUT in Port Elizabeth with both teams trying to avoid the wooden spoon, more so in NMMU’s case, as TUT have proved so far to not be such pushovers like in previous seasons. Elsewhere, Shimlas will host Pukke who are looking to get back into contention for the semi’s and leave the men from Potch with even more pain after their poor display in this year’s Varsity Cup. The final game of the round is in Johannesburg where the unbeaten UJ host Tuks.
NMMU vs TUT
These games that are between the teams that are less likely to make the semi-finals are always free flowing with not very much for either team to lose. This game should not be an exception with NMMU out of semi-final contention and TUT needing to win every game and hope results go their way to get to the semis. Both these sides suffered heavy defeats to the two best teams in the Varsity Cup with TUT going down 45-16 to UCT and NMMU getting run over by Maties 49-17. The nature of this game will be very dependent on the weather down in PE as it is known as the windy city! Now to the teams, after their big defeat, NMMU have made seven changes to the team in which coach, Brent Janse van Rensburg, will be hoping for a change of fortune. The backline has a complete new look to it with a new scrumhalf, centre and wing. TUT on the other hand have only made three changes to the side that was soundly beaten by UCT at the Green Mile. The changes are all in the forwards with both locks, JJ Breet and Emile Verster, making way for Mare Ewald and Tinus van Wyk. The final change sees prop, Juan-Phillip Pike, being replaced at tighthead by Anton Krynauw.
My Prediction: TUT to win by 7-10points
Shimlas vs Pukke
After both having very tight games in Round 4, Shimlas and Pukke will be looking to build on a win and just try to get onto the board this season respectively. Shimlas still have a very legitimate chance of making the semi-finals after having played the big two teams and beating one in the process. They will also be looking to beat the most disappointing team in this year’s competition, Pukke. Shimlas overcame a stubborn Tuks side in what is a very good result with Tuks looking to qualify for the semis. Pukke on the other hand will be looking for a change in results after letting their coach go on a two week “leave of absence”. Expect this game to be hard rugby with none of these teams rolling over lightly. Shimlas have announced an unchanged team to take on Pukke with coach Jaco Swanepoel looking for consistency before leading up to the semi-finals. Pukke on the other hand already having been eliminated will start with a young team looking to the future with scrum half Tiaan Dorfling coming in for Johan Larker. The only other changeis in the form of John-Roy Jenkinson coming in for Martin Dreyer at prop.
My Prediction: Shimlas to win by 3-5points
UJ vs Tuks
Somehow UJ find themselves unbeaten this year. They always somehow find a way to win a game in the dying minutes. One thing is for sure that they will be tested again by a very good Tuks team that will be looking to win after their disappointing defeat at the hands of Shimlas last week. Both these teams are looking for semi-final spots but with very varying expectations as UJ will want a home semi-final and Tuks just a semi-final spot. This may be a pivotal game in the UJ and Tuks season with both of them finishing off their last two league games against Maties and UCT. This game may very well decide who will get the final semi-final spot up for grabs. UJ beat off a stubborn Pukke side who are still trying their best to comeback from a disastrous season. Tuks on the other hand came up just short in Bloemfontein against Shimlas. This game will be a tight encounter and you may see some spectacular rugby from these two teams. UJ have kept an unchanged team but their coach Hugo van As has said an improved performance will be required from the team to beat Tuks. In the Tuks camp, however, there have been four changes and two positional changes with both centre and flyhalf being replaced with Deon Helburg, Daboen Draghoender and Wesley Dunlop who are all returning to the starting line-up. The final change sees Franco Mostert coming in at lock.
My Prediction: Tuks to win by 1-3points
UCT vs Maties