The universities of Cape Town (Ikeys) and Stellenbosch (Maties) will resume their intense rivalry, which has been going for almost a century, when they meet in the FNB Varsity Cup Final at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Monday.
The final outcome will determine not only the first winners of the inaugural Varsity Cup, but also the bragging rights in the Western Province, where the two southern universities are based.
The rivalry is as intense as ever since the first intervarsity between the traditional arch-rivals was played in 1911, when teams were cheered on by thousands of singing students who were egged on by gesturing cheerleaders wearing tailcoats.
The Ikeys have surprised friend and foe alike in reaching the Final, more so after they staged spirited fightbacks to secure victory on three occasions.
At the outset, the Ikeys were seeded seventh.
The most recent of their noteworthy fightbacks was in the semifinal round and will no doubt still be fresh in the mind of the Maties, when they plot their strategy for the Final.
The Ikeys literally came back from the dead after they trailed 0-17 and later 10-31 against the Pukke (Potchefstroom University) to score 22 unanswered points in the final 14 minutes to emerge 32-31 semifinal victors last Monday.
And if that’s not enough to alert the Maties of the Ikeys’ magnificent fightback capability, the records will show that they lost to the Ikeys (38-32) in the league phase of the competition, after they enjoyed a 20-14 halftime lead over the recent Easter weekend.
On their way to the Final, the Ikeys have chalked up some remarkable victories and it remains to seen whether these achievements may have drained their powers of recovery ahead of Monday’s clash.
The morale in the Maties’ camp would have been significantly boosted by the fact that they will enjoy home ground advantage.
Ikeys: Herbert Mayosi, JP Koster, Dylan Rogers, Michael Ledwidge, Martin Muller, Enoch Panya, Mzoi Simani, Jonathan Gagiano, Danie van der Merwe, Matthew Rosslee, Marcello Sampson, Pieter Engelbrecht, James Martin, Matthew Turner, Peter Haw, Mark Goosen, Wesley Chetty, Dane Galley, Kyle Brown, Kyle Wickins, Tim Whitehead, Sean van Tonder.
Maties: Therlow Pietersen, Heno Stoffberg, Jean Stemmet, Sarel Potgieter, Lewellyn Winckler, Richardo Croy, Wilhelm Koch, Bennie Booysen, Zandre Jordaan, Wesley Wilkens, Jaco Nepgen, Erich Laubscher, Jacobi Adriaanse, Matthew Dobson, Johan Roets, Lisle Clark, Andrew Crausaz, JC Kritzinger, Albert Fullard, De Kock Steenkamp, Lucian Cloete and Morné Jooste.
Date: Monday, 7 April
Venue: Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
Kick-off: 18.45 (16.45 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Touch judges: François Veldsman, Jason Jaftha
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman
Assessor: André Watson