Finals are unpredictable, and so it will be again when defending champions Maties meet the NWK-Pukke in this year’s FNB Varsity Cup final at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Monday night.
Sport 24 reports that opposition coaches in the competition expect the Maties to run as they did against the Tukkies in the semi-final. And, conversely, the expectations are for a dour forward approach, supplemented by a solid defence, from Pukke’s side.
Not necessarily so, according to Pukke coach Rudy Joubert. He has been playing his cards close to his chest but indicated his side is adaptable and adept at switching to any style of play demanded.
“I’m pretty sure that they (Maties) would like to adopt an expansive approach. That will necessitate that we keep our mistakes to an absolute minimum and don’t give them any quality first-phase possession,” Joubert told the varsitycup website.
However, he added, that this is a final so “it’s difficult to make such assumptions because you don’t quite know what risks the teams will be willing to take.”
Maties captain Wesley Wilkins said that his side was looking at stamping their authority in the first 20 minutes. “If we can get up early (on the scoreboard), and with a partisan crowd behind us, we should, hopefully, be hard to stop,” said the Maties flanker.
“But Pukke will be a dangerous side,” he added. “They’ve been getting better and better as the tournament has progressed; they know all about playing at this level and they play with plenty of pride and passion.”
The Maties are the favourites for various reasons. One is, as Tukkies coach Freddie Grobler said, because they know when to take the step up. “It’s even more so on their home turf. Their performance against us in the semi-final (won 38-14 by the Maties) was the most recent example of how they can rise to the occasion.”
Ikeys assistant coach Robbie Fleck, whose team lost to the Pukke in the other semi-final, thinks the “Maties will run away with it.”
That’s what logic dictates, but with former Springbok assistant coach and 1995 World Cup winning technical advisor with the Boks, Rudy Joubert, at the Pukke helm, it will not necessarily be the case.
** The match will be preceded by the final in the 2009 Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships between Huis Armentum (Shimlas) and Dromedaris (UJ).
Both finals will be televised live on SS1.
Kick-off times are:
Koshuis final: 4.45pm
Varsity Cup: 6.45pm.Tweet