There will be all to play for in the final round of league action before the play-offs in the 2014 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International.
Log-leaders FNB NWU-Pukke are the only team assured of a place in the semifinals, and with five other teams in the running for the other three spots the play-off race is wide open.
At the other end of the log things will be just as tense, as although Johannesburg outfits FNB UJ and FNB Wits cannot make the semifinals there is still the threat of relegation looming this season.
The two games televised live on Supersport One on Monday will have the biggest influence on which teams make the semifinals as sixth-placed FNB UFS-Shimlas host third-placed FNB NMMU and fifth-placed FNB Maties square off with fourth place FNB UP-Tuks in Stellenbosch.
Just four log points separate UFS-Shimlas and the Madibaz, which means that the Bloemfontein side could leapfrog their opponents into third place if things go their way in front of their home crowd.
Defeat for the Madibaz could see them end the season as low as sixth position which is the same situation that faces both of last year’s finalists Maties and UP-Tuks.
The big North-South clash between two sides that share five of the six titles between them will effectively be a quarterfinal with the teams deadlocked on 16 log points, which should make for a pulsating encounter at the Danie Craven Stadium.
The mission for NWU-Pukke when they face UJ in Potchefstroom will be to secure top spot on the standings to ensure home advantage in the knock-out phase of the competition, whilst UJ will be desperate to avoid a promotion/relegation play-off match.
The Johannesburg side have had a tough season, with just one win to their name so far, so they will throw everything at NWU-Pukke to avoid having to fight for their place in the competition.
Wits cannot avoid finishing last this season, so they already know that they will be playing Varsity Shield next season, but they will be fired up to notch their first Varsity Cup win in their last match before they are automatically relegated.
They face an on-form Ikey Tigers side that is still yet to lose away from home this season, and the Cape side’s season rides on this match as they can finish on top of the log or miss the semifinals down in fifth place depending on how things work out.
In the Varsity Shield John Mitchell’s FNB UKZN Impi travel up to Pretoria to face the bottom-placed FNB TUT Vikings whilst Peter de Villiers’ FNB UWC host the Fort Hare Blues in Bellville.
Defending champions FNB CUT have a bye this week, but they have already secured top spot and it is now just a matter of who they will face in the final, with just three points separating UKZN, UWC and FortHare on the standings with just two rounds left.
There will be just one Varsity Young Guns match on Monday as NWU-Pukke host UFS in Potchefstroom in a showdown which will determine which team goes through to the semifinals.
In the Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships Steinhoff Medies host Steinhoff Onderstepoort in Stellenbosch in what will be a quarterfinal of sorts as they battle to secure second place in the Incredible Connection pool behind the unbeaten Steinhoff Patria.
All of the teams in the Hi-Fi Corporation pool will be in action on Monday as Steinhoff Majuba attempt to hand Steinhoff Heimat their first defeat and the Steinhoff Purple Cobras look to move past Majuba into second place when they take on the winless Steinhoff Humanities in Johannesburg.
All of Monday’s teams and match details:
FNB UFS-Shimlas v FNB NMMU Madibaz
(Shimla Park, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 16.45 live on Supersport One)
FNB UFS-Shimlas: 15 Ludwig Erasmus, 14 Maphuta Dolo, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Sethu Tom, 10 Gouws Prinsloo, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Justin Pappin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Franco van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Markus Odendaal, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Johan van der Hoogt, 19 Neill Jordaan, 20 Kay-Kay Hlongwane, 21 Francois du Toit, 22 Divandre Strydom, 23 Gideon Bruwer.
FNB NMMU Madibaz: 15 Jarryd Buys, 14 Tythan Adams, 13 Michael Bernardt, 12 Andile Jho, 11 Yamkela Ngam, 10 Gavin Hauptfleisch, 9 Daniel Acker, 8 Timothy Agaba, 7 Marcel Groenewald, 6 Christopher Cloete, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Dexter Fahey, 2 Jody Reyneke, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).
Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Abongile Mnyaka, 18 Louis Fourie, 19 Wade Elliot, 20 Kayle van Zyl, 21 Devon Lailvaux , 22 Sinakho Mafu, 23 Simon Kerrod.
Referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: JJ Wagner
FNB Maties v FNB UP-Tuks
(Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch – Kick-off: 19.00 live on Supersport One)
FNB Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 John Durr, 13 Mark Hodgskiss, 12 Jacobus Jordaan, 11 Caleb Smith, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jean Nel, 8 Tertius Daniller (captain), 7 Helmut Lehmann, 6 Justin Benn, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Nicol Heyns, 2 Charl de Villiers, 1 Wesley Adonis.
Replacements: 16 Neethling Gericke, 17 Niel Oelofse, 18 Ian Groenewald, 19 Lungelo Chonco, 20 Bjorn Bernardo, 21 Chris Smith, 22 Jacobus Loubser, 23 Liam Hendricks.
FNB UP-Tuks: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Reniel Hugo (captain), 7 Rudolph Smith, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Basil Short, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Arno van Wyk, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Jannes Kirsten, 19 Leneve Damens, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Kefentse Mahlo, 23 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Referees: Jaco Kotze, Rodney Bonaparte
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
FNB NWU-Pukke v FNB UJ
(Fanie du Toit Stadium, Potchefstroom – Kick-off: 19.00)
FNB NWU-Pukke: TBC
FNB UJ: 15 Juan Kotze, 14 PJ Walters, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Harold Vorster,
11 Michael Haznar, 10 Marais Schmidt, 9 Viaan van der Watt, 8 Dylan Petersson, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Kobus Porter (captain), 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Van Zyl Botha, 2 Jannes Snyman, 1 Devon Martinus.
Replacements: 16 Qinisile Siphatho, 17 Wiseman Kamanga, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 JP Swanepoel, 20 Jacque Pretorius, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Pieter Morton, 23 Hendrik Bredenkamp.
Referees: Gerrie de Bruin, Eduan Nel
Assistant referees: Local
FNB Wits v FNB UCT
(Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg – Kick-off: 19.00)
FNB Wits: 15 Ruhan Nel, 14 Mandla Dube, 13 Divan Ferguson, 12 Brent Crossley, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Mathew Torrance, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Senna Esterhuizen, 6 JP Jonck, 5 Rendani Ramovha, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Gideon Muller, 2 Ashley Kohler, 1 Hannes Ludik.
Replacements: 16 Thato Mavundla, 17 Kyle Wood, 18 Peter van Biljon, 19 Conor Brockschmidt, 20 Jason Jarvis, 21 Wilton Pietersen, 22 Nkuli Gamede, 23 Kelly Ferdinand.
FNB UCT: 15 Martin Sauls, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Guy Schwikkard, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 James Alexander (captain), 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Vince Jobo, 6 Michael Botha, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Joel Carew.
Replacements: 16 Msizi Zondi, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Jason Klaasen, 19 Kyle Kriel, 20 Liam Slatem, 21 Ross Jones-Davies, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 David Maasch.
Referees: Oregopotse Rametsi, Archie Sehlako
Assistant referees: Local
Varsity Shield fixtures:
FNB TUT Vikings v FNB UKZN Impi
(TUT Rugby Stadium, Pretoria – Kick-off: 19.00)
FNB UWC v FNB Fort Hare Blues
(UWC Rugby Stadium, Bellville – Kick-off: 19.00)
Varsity Young Guns fixture:
FNB NWU-Pukke Young Guns v FNB UFS-Shimlas Young Guns
(Fanie du Toit Stadium – Kick-off: 16.45)
Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship fixtures:
Steinhoff Humanities v Steinhoff Cobras
(Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg – Kick-off: 16.45)
Steinhoff Heimat v Steinhoff Majuba
(Shimla Park, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 19.00)
Steinhoff Medies v Steinhoff Onderstepoort
(Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch – Kick-off: 16.45)