We may still have to wait another 11 agonising days before the 2010 Super 14 kicks off, but today marks the start of the third instalment of the popular FNB Varsity Cup tournament. The first of four games kicks off at 14h30, live on SuperSport.
The opening round features two sets of double-header fixtures, one at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and the other at LC de Villiers Stadium home ground of Tukkies in Tshwane. The Varsity Cup competition will trial a number of interesting variations this season, as always, including the experimental “player 23″ law, requiring each squad to name a third front-ranker on an extended bench to avoid the situation of uncontested scrums. Another first will be the introduction of gridiron style “time-outs”, a two -minute break coming somewhere between the 18th and 22nd minute of each half when coaches will be allowed onto the field to spur on their teams, while the players take a water break.
Shimlas, from Free State University, take on UCT in the opening match, kicking off at 14h30. Look out for George Whitehead at fullback for the Free Staters; he made a few appearances for the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup last year. Ikeys, boast two players with senior Currie Cup experience in flyhalf Matt Rosslee and lock Martin Muller, both of whom saw action with Western Province in 2009. Promising loose forward Yassir “Yaya” Hartzenburg is a member of the extended Stormers training squad.
Shimlas: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Divandré Strydom, 13 Earl Snyman, 12 Wayne Stevens (kaptein), 11 Rashied Isaacs, 10 Reinhardt Erwee, 9 Jaco Colyn, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Willie Britz, 6 Hanno Pieterse, 5 Henjo van Niekerk, 4 Joubert Horn, 3 Vaatjie Koorsen, 2 PW van Vuuren, 1 Charles Marais. Replacements: 16 Gert Erasmus, 17 Ian Potgieter, 18 Lebo Zietsman, 19 Pieter Labuschagné, 20 Marlin Ruiters, 21 Beast Ndwandwa, 22 Johan van Schalkwyk, 23 James Hellawell.
UCT: 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Stu Commins (vice-captain), 8 JJ Gagiano, 7 Michael Morris, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells (captain), 5 Martin Muller, 4 Don Armand, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Ash Wells. Replacements: 16 Mark Goosen, 17 Chris Heidberg, 18 Yaya Hartzenberg, 19 Levi Odendaal, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Sean van Tonder, 22 Doug Mallett, 23 Wes Chetty.
The hosts from NMMU take on reigning champs Stellenbosch University in the 16h30 game. There are no big names in the home side and they’ll have their work cut out for them against a star-studded Maties outfit who know how to win in this competition. The Maties team-sheet reads like a who’s-who of emerging WP talent and they’ll be captained by prop Lourans Adriaanse, whose brother Jacobie plays for Boland, in the absence of regular skipper Cameron Peverett this week.
NMMU: 15 Aluzant Munnik, 14 Oscar Mazaka, 13 Williams Heydenrych, 12 Wade Roos, 11 Darryl Turner, 10 Willem Laubscher, 9 Lusu Booi (captain), 8 Sameul Borsaah, 7 Ferdie Gerber, 6 Thomaso Farbes, 5 Jannie Fourie, 4 Mathew Lutge, 3 Pierre Hammond, 2 Hugo Lampbrechts, 1 Tyron Williams. Replacements: 16 Werner Kapp, 17 Chariel van Jaarsveld, 18 De Wet De Lange, 19 Kemsley Wesso, 20 JP Kellerman, 21 Hugo van Heerden, 22 Phiwe Lallendle, 23 Ivon Cowley.
Maties: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Dabeon Draghoender, 11 Thythan Adams, 10 Hayden Groepes, 9 Conrad Hoffman, 8 Tertius Daniller, 7 JP Mostert, 6 Boetie Britz, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Rynardt Elsteadt, 3 Lourens Adriaanse (captain), 2 Matthew Dobson, 1 Mike De Neuilly-Rice. Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Johan Roets, 18 Andrew Prior, 19 Josh Strauss, 20 Johan Laker, 21 Stephan van der Merwe, 22 Jonathan Francke, 23 Buhle Mxunuywa.
Meanwhile, over in the capital, the team from Tshwane University of Technology will have their hands full with a powerful-looking lineup from the University of Johannesburg that includes a Lions Currie Cup player (Earl Lewis) and a Baby Bok (David Bullbring) on the bench. The starting pack is a strong one, with prop Wayne Swart and flanker Justin Wheeler both Lions representatives, while Wendell Wehr played Currie Cup rugby for Boland in 2009. TUT captain Emile Verster is no stranger to big challenges, though, having represented both the Blue Bulls and Valke at Currie Cup level earlier in his career. This match also kicks off at 16h30.
TUT: 15 Hansie Graaff, 14 Johan Swartz, 13 Henk de Ridder, 12 Lutho Nyeka, 11 Thabo Motau, 10 Jacques Venter, 9 Manny Raposo, 8 Wikus Botes, 7 Emile Verster (captain), 6 Athi Mtya, 5 Werner Lourens, 4 Johan Steenkamp, 3 Braam van der Merwe, 2 Johan Pieterse, 1 Juan Pike. Replacements: 16 Alfred Khoza, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Dewald van Deventer, 19 Ryno Lopes, 20 Nico van Zyl, 21 Felix Godlo, 22 Johan Oosthuizen, 23 Johann Visser.
UJ: 15 Aubrey MacDonald, 14 Edrich van Tonder, 13 Clinton de Klerk (captain), 12 Luhan Steenkamp, 11 Lola Waqa, 10 André Smith, 9 Danny Botha, 8 Quinten Minnaar, 7 Wendell Wehr, 6 Justin Wheeler, 5 Marnus van Huyssteen, 4 Martyn Lombard, 3 Wayne Swart, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 KP du Plessis. Replacements: 16 Brett Claassens, 17 JP Olivier, 18 David Bulbring, 19 JP Janse van Rensburg, 20 Jacques Pretorius, 21 Ryno Luus, 22 Earl Lewis, 23 Jaco Claassen.
The final game (at 18h30) sees hosts Tukkies take on last year’s beaten finalists, NWU Pukke from Potchefstroom. The home side don’t look as good on paper, with centres Ernie Kruger and Franco Booysen boasting Currie Cup experience. Pukke are always strong in this competition and they’ll look to Leopards (and former Sharks XV) winger Danie Dames to do the damage out wide. Another familiar face in the squad is that of Cecil Dumond (Monty’s younger brother) while former Sharks under 21 flanker Siya Mdaka starts in the number 7 jersey.
Tukkies: 15 Gert Smith, 14 Dirk Dippenaar, 13 Ernie Kruger, 12 Franco Booysen, 11 Aaron Denenga, 10 Shaun Davids (captain), 9 Ignick Windvogel, 8 Marius Weber, 7 Marius Oosthuizen, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Francois van Wyk, 4 Tiaan Nel, 3 Hein Viljoen , 2 Chris Crous, 1 Ettienne Breytenbach. Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee/AJ le Roux, 17 Musa Tukela, 18 Joe Walters, 19 Oswin Mentoor, 20 Wesley Marais, 21 Donovan Marais, 22 Fanie Booysen, 23 Danie Oosthuizen.
Pukke: 15 Theuns Kotzé, 14 Dane Johnson, 13 Ruan Jacobs, 12 Wouter Watermeyer, 11 Danie Dames, 10 Niell Jacobs, 9 Andries Mahoney, 8 Thabo Molete, 7 Siya Mdaka, 6 Savvas Nel, 5 Markus Fourie, 4 Dirco Rautenbach (captain), 3 Stephanus Bezuidenhout, 2 Stoffel Duvenhage, 1 Dewald Coetzee. Replacements: 16 BW van Dyk, 17 BG Uys, 18 Francois Robbertse, 19 Jaco Lötter, 20 Cecil Dumond, 22 Wensley Scott, 22 Andrew van Wyk, 23 Johan Coetzee.Tweet