The one that counts in Monday night’s Varsity Cup matches is the clash between the NWU Pukke and UP Tuks at the Fanie du Toit Stadium in Potchefstroom that could have a bearing on which side gets a home semi-final.
The winner will be in pole position to assure a home semi-final in its remaining matches. Maties, of course, can hardly be denied a home semi-final and home final. They have a bye on Monday but still have fixtures against UWC at home and the Shimlas away. It is difficult to see that they will be ousted from home play-offs.
The Pukke are five log points behind the Pretoria students with a match in hand. They can in theory catch up by winning this match by logging an unlikely five points to none from Tuks.
That will, however, not influence their immediate position. They will remain in third place by virtue of a much inferior points differential compared to the Tukkies.
However, the Pukke can make up for that in their following match against the CUT Ixias in Bloemfontein and against Wits, who have been rather disappointing this year, in their last match in two weeks’ time.
Tuks still have to play the Ikey Tigers in a tricky encounter in Pretoria next week, and although a surprise in this round is of course possible, the Pretoria side should cling to second place with a win against the Pukke.
♦ Wits can compensate for previous near-wins and at times also poor rugby by winning their Round 7 match against the Ikeys at Wits Stadium.
That will put paid to any notions of a surprise late sneak-in by Ikeys into the top four. This seems unlikely, anyway, with fourth-placed Shimlas playing the iffish Ixias in an away Bloemfontein derby where they should affirm their semi-final place.
The Ixias are better than in past years, but if the ever-improving Shimlas hit their straps this match could produce a big score in Bloemfontein.
But then, the game is played on the field and there have been bigger surprises!
♦ UWC host UJ at home.
UJ, after a very hesitant start, have improved with every match. Although they can nog longer qualify for the play-offs, they can move to sixth or even fifth place after this round’s match, depending on bonus points in their match and also the Ikeys performance against Wits.
Round 7 fixtures ‒
16:45 Wits vs Ikeys (SS1)
18:30 UWC vs UJ
18:301 Ixias vs Shimlas
19:00 Pukke vs. Tuks (S11).