Johannesburg- Two southern universities, Maties and Ikeys, play the Tukkies and Pukke-NWU from the north respectively on Monday night in the semi-finals of the hugely successful inaugural FNB Varsity Cup.
It is a strange coincidence that these two matches are a repeat of the first round, right down to the venues of the two matches.
Ikeys, log leaders, lost only that first match when Pukke beat them 23-17.
Since then they have since seen off the country’s best university sides, scoring 260 points against 69 in their seven matches at an average match score of 38-10, and the most tries (37) against the least (17) in the competition.
Ikeys head coach John Dobson was wary of the Pukke, but also confident.
“We are aware of Pukke’s strengths, but we are a different side to the one that went down to them in that opening match. The guys have a new belief in themselves and you only have to look back at our games against UJ and Maties, when we were down at half-time, to realise how strong these guys are mentally,” Dobson said to the Varsity Cup website.
The Ikeys will start as favourites – but the way in which the Pukke played in their last two matches when they demolished Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and then the University of Johannesburg with a new brand of running rugby, could make them hard to contain.
Maties will still wonder how they let the Tukkies in after leading 31-10 for the Pretoria visitors to draw 31-all in their first fixture.
The match at Coetzenburg should be a humdinger as well, but somehow the
Maties, despite their losses to the Pukke and Ikeys and the Tukkies draw inspire more confidence.
It won’t be a major surprise if the two Western Province universities battle if out for the title in a week’s time.
But then, very little in this marvellous competition has gone to plan.
Monday’s semi-finals: Ikeys v Pukke at Groote Schuur, 14:30 (televised at 16:45); Maties v Tukkies, Danie Craven Stadium, 18:45 (direct TV transmission)Tweet