FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International has reached the knockout rounds and Monday night promises to serve up intriguing clashes. Both will be broadcast live on SuperSport 201 and will see the introduction of NFL-style posts replace the traditional rugby posts. In Monday night’s first match, which kicks off 16:45, unbeaten Shimlas hosts defending champions Ikeys.
When the two teams met earlier in the season, at the same venue, Shimlas clinched a 44-24 victory. Shimlas dominated most of the match, but Ikeys’ coach Kevin Musikanth said now that the team has achieved their initial goal of reaching the play-offs, they can focus on the next hurdle: ‘The team is feeling great. The first goal for us was to make the play-offs – which we have now done – a good achievement for the team. It was a real street fight out there and what our boys proved is that we can mix it up with the best, and on the day we came out deserved winners.’ The second match, which kicks off at 19:00, sees two-time champions Tuks host NWU-Pukke in Pretoria.
Tuks narrowly lost 42-37 when they visited Pukke earlier in the season and will view this as a chance for redemption. A win will gift Tuks a home final. The hosts’ consultant, Nollis Marais, believes that the semi-final will be won amongst the forwards and that his charges cannot afford to play catch up rugby: ‘Whoever has the stronger set piece will walk away the win come next Monday. Both teams have very physical forwards so it will come down to the small things. The last time we played NWU-Pukke we had new combinations due to injuries including young JT Jackson who has found incredible form. We know what to do, we just need to perform.’
Photo credit: Van Zyl Naude/Shimlas