Heavyweights looking to bounce back
FNB Varsity Cup powerhouses UP-Tuks and UJ will both be looking to bounce back from opening round defeats in front of their home fans on Monday.
The Highveld outfits both went down away from home last week, and will be determined to come out firing as they seek to get their campaigns back on track.
Despite a second-half comeback defending champions UP-Tuks fell short against NWU-Pukke in Potchefstroom last week, and their coach Nollis Marais is under no illusions about the importance of their clash with UCT in a replay of the 2011 final which will be televised live on SuperSport 1.
"We owe it to ourselves and our supporters to be at the top at our game from the very start. We will have to be more precise and clinical in everything we do and leave nothing to chance,” he said.
Their opponents are coming off a hard-fought draw with the NMMU Madibaz in Cape Town, and with world champion Baby Bok skipper Wiaan Liebenberg leading a star-studded UP-Tuks side, the Ikey Tigers will certainly have their hands full in Pretoria.
UJ will host a confident NWU-Pukke side fresh off their victory over UP-Tuks as they attempt to put their defeat to Maties last week behind them and play the kind of rugby that has made them one of the most consistent sides in the competition in recent years.
The Johannesburg side failed to score a single point after halftime in a windy Stellenbosch last week, so they are sure to throw everything at NWU-Pukke who will be keen to make it two big scalps in a row.
Both Maties and UFS-Shimlas recorded bonus-point victories last week, so they will both be brimming with confidence ahead of their clash in Bloemfontein.
UFS-Shimlas completely dismantled newcomers Wits last week to get their season off to a flying start, but they know that the Maties will present an altogether different challenge and as a result have called on the expertise of legendary Springbok prop Os du Randt.
The double World Cup-winner has been working with the UFS-Shimlas pack as they prepare to take on a formidable Maties side in their first home game of the season.
Wits will have their work cut out for them once more when they travel to Port Elizabeth to face the NMMU Madibaz who will be intent on building on their gutsy draw in Cape Town.
Madibaz coach Brent Janse van Rensburg believes that his team can improve on that performance by 50% and has called for a polished display against the newcomers who are still trying to find their feet in the competition.
"We are very confident, but grounded for Monday evening.
"We realise that we need to be prepared to fight every week and we feel that to get our performance up to where we want to be performing does not require major open heart surgery," said the Madibaz coach.
In the Varsity Shield CUT will be out to protect their status as the only unbeaten side in the competition when they take on the Fort Hare Blues who are coming off a morale boosting bonus-point victory over the TUT Vikings.
Peter de Villiers has rung the changes for UWC as they look to bounce back from their defeat to CUT in Bloemfontein when they host the UKZN Impi in Bellville.
Varsity Cup fixtures and team line-ups - Monday, February 11;
UP-Tuks v UCT, Tuks Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm (TV)
UP-Tuks: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Vainon Willis, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Christopher Bosch, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg (captain), 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Mike Williams, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Zane Botha, 17 Sabelo Nhlapo, 18 Schalk van Heerden, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 Danie Faasen, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Sampie Mastriet.
UCT: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Liam Bax, 12 Nicholas Holton, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Ross Jones-Davies, 9 Liam Slatem, 8 Josh Katzen, 7 Ntsolo Setlaba, 6 Kyle Kriel, 5 Jacobus Odendaal (captain), 4 James Kilroe, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Derek Asbun, 17 Digby Webb, 18 Bradley Bosman, 19 Jason Klaasens, 20 Rick Schroeder, 21 David Ambunya, 22 Paul Cohen, 23 Oliver Kebble.
Referee: Tiaan Jonker
UFS-Shimlas v Maties, Shimla Park - 7pm
Shimlas: 15 Robbie van Schalkwyk, 14 Dolo Maphutha, 13 Reinhardt Erwee, 12 Thys Smit, 11 JJ de Klerk; 10 Franna du Toit, 9 Kevin Luiters; 8 Erik le Roux, 7 Teboho Mohoje (captain), 6 Freddie Ngoza, 5 JC Astle, 4 Fanie van der Walt, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Elandre Hugget, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Henco Venter, 19 Armandt Koster, 20 Hlanlha Hlongwane, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 Divandre Strydom, 23 Carl van Heerden.
Maties: 15 Ryan Nell, 14 Clearence Khumalo, 13 Mark Hodgkiss, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Dean Grant, 9 James Alexander, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jurg Streicher, 6 Helmut Lehmann (captain), 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 3 Os Hamman, 2 Neethling Gericke, 1 Alister Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Charl de Villiers, 17 Niel Oelofse, 18 Reuben Johannes, 19 Lungelo Chonco, 20 Jean Nel, 21 JH Potgieter, 22 Craig Barry, 23 Brendan Pitzer.
Referee: Jaco Kotzer
UJ v NWU-Pukke, UJ Stadium - 7pm
UJ: 15 Kobus De Kock, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Bradley Moolman, 12 Divan Van Zyl, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Guy Cronje, 9 Jacques Pretorius, 8 RJ Liebenberg, 7 Justin Wheeler (captain), 6 Steph De Witt, 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Wiseman Kamanga.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Wessel Du Rand, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Kobus Porter, 20 Lukas Van Zyl, 21 Luan Steenkamp, 22 PJ Walters, 23 Njabulo Mkize.
NWU-Pukke: 15 Hoffman Maritz, 14 Rowayne Beukman, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Gerhard Nortier, 9 Tiaan Dorfling, 8 SJ Niemand, 7 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 6 Marcel Groenewald, 5 Victor Kruger (captain), 4 Solly Sotsaka, 3 Herman Basson, 2 JC Oberholzer, 1 Martin Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Arno Ebersohn, 18 Danie Jordaan, 19 Molotsi Bouwer, 20 Pieter Smith, 21 Sylvian Mahuza, 22 Wynand Olivier, 23 Elardus Venter.
Referee: Lihan Pretorius
NMMU v Wits, NMMU Stadium - 7pm (TV)
NMMU: 15 Jarred Buys, 14 Mayibuye Ndwandwa, 13 Gerhardus Smith, 12 Xolani Mnisi, 11 Logan Basson, 10 Justin Van Staden, 9 Dwayne Kelly, 8 Marius Oosthuizen, 7 Ulrich Pretorius, 6 Simphiwe Shabangu, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Louis Fourie, 3 Dexter Fahey, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).
Replacements: 16 Albertus De Swardt, 17 Brenden Olivier, 18 Schalk Oelofse, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Lesley-Dean Luiters, 21 Hermanus van Lill, 22 Lonwabo Ntleki, 23 Elrich Kock.
Wits: 15 Greg Blom, 14 Jacques Erasmus, 13 Kayde Fisher, 12 Jared Meyer, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Latiume Fosita, 9 Mathew Torrance, 8 Carel Greef, 7 Charles Baggot, 6 Thato Mavundla, 5 Rinus Bothma, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Phakamilu Zuma, 2 Piers Cooper, 1 Hannes Ludik
Replacements: 16 Rory Anderson, 17 Wandile Lupuwane, 18 Shai Korb, 19 Katlego Ntsie, 20 Josh Durbach, 21 Michael Sephton-Poultney, 22 Mandla Dube, 23 Katlego Kgama
Referee: Rodney Bonaparte
Varsity Shield fixtures – Monday, February 11:
CUT v UFH, CUT Rugby Stadium- 7pm
UWC v UKZN, UWC Sports Stadium - 7pm
Bye: FNB TUT