Defending champions FNB UP-Tuks are the only team yet to lose a game this season, and they lead the way but not by much with the chasing pack breathing down their necks.
They will be up against the fourth-placed FNB UCT – who are coming off two big away wins against FNB Maties and FNB NMMU – in the first televised game (live on Supersport One at 16.45) in Cape Town on Monday.
FNB NWU-Pukke and the NMMU Madibaz both suffered their first defeats last week, but they are not far off the pace, which sets up their clash in Port Elizabeth nicely.
The loss to UCT last week was the Madibaz’ first defeat at home since 2012, so they will be looking to bounce back quickly against a NWU-Pukke side that went down to Maties in Potchefstroom in Round Three.
The Stellenbosch side will be back on home soil on Monday, with bottom-dwellers FNB Wits set to visit the Danie Craven Stadium as they look for their first log points of the season.
Maties got their campaign up and running with their win against NWU-Pukke last week after a disappointing start to the season, so they will be eyeing a bonus-point win against Wits who are still yet to win a Varsity Cup game.
Both FNB UJ and FNB UFS-Shimlas will be hoping to break into the top four ahead of their clash in Bloemfontein. UFS-Shimlas are down in seventh place on the log, but just three points adrift of the Ikeys who are in fourth place, which shows just how congested the standings are ahead of Monday’s action.
In the Varsity Shield defending champions FNB CUT will be looking to extend their unbeaten run which stretches back to 2012 when they host FNB Fort Hare in Bloemfontein.
Fort Hare have already shown that they will be no pushovers this season by beating the FNB UKZN Impi in Durban, but they will have to produce a special performance if they are to get the better of the high-flying Ixias.
John Mitchell’s UKZN side are coming off a morale-boosting win over Peter de Villiers’ FNB UWC last week and they face the FNB TUT Vikings in Pietermaritzburg. The Vikings suffered their first defeat against CUT last week, so they will be keen to bounce back and put some more distance between themselves and the Impi on the log.
In the FNB Varsity Young Guns competition the FNB UFS-Young Guns will be out to put their narrow defeat to defending champions UP-Tuks behind them when they host Wits in Bloemfontein whilst in Cape Town the Ikeys will be looking for their first win when they face UJ.
The Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship moves into Round Two on Monday, with Steinhoff Oppidani hosting NWU-Pukke outfit Steinhoff Patria in Port Elizabeth and UFS champions Steinhoff Heimat starting their campaign with a clash against Wits’ Steinhoff Humanities in Bloemfontein.
All of the teams and match details:
FNB UCT v FNB UP-Tuks
(UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town – Kick-off: 16.45 live on Supersport One)
FNB UCT: 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Martin Sauls, 12 Nic Holton, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Liam Slatem (captain), 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Vince Jobo, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Jan Uys,3 Digby Webb, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Robin Murray.
Replacements: 16 Chad Soloman, 17 Michael Kennedy, 18 Shaun McDonald, 19 Zakeyo Tinetenda, 20 James Alexander, 21 Huw Jones, 22 Suwilanji Chibale, 23 David Maasch.
FNB UP-Tuks: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel,12 Ryan Nell, 11 Kefentse Mahlo; 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Reniel Hugo (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: Arno van Wyk, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Jono Janse van Rensburg, 19 Leneve Damens, 20 Emile Temperman, 22 Francois Tredoux, 22 Duncan Matthews, 23 Neethling Fouche.
Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Neville Heilbron
FNB UFS-Shimlas v FNB UJ
(Shimla Park, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 19.00)
FNB UFS-Shimlas: 15 Ludwig Erasmus, 14 Mapuhta 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 Juston Pappin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Franco van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Markus Odendaal, 17 Rudolph Botha, 18 Johan van der Hoogt, 19 Neill Jordaan, 20 Kay-Kay Hlongwane, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 Divandré Strydom, 23 Luan de Bruin.
FNB UJ: 15 Marais Schmidt, 14 PJ Walters, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Michael Haznar, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Jacques Pretorius (captain), 8 Kobus Porter, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Tiaan MacDonald, 5 David Antonites, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Van Zyl Botha, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Wiseman Kamanga.
Replacements: 16 Jannes Snyman, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Dylan Peterson, 20 Lukas van Zyl, 21 Juan Kotze, 22 Pieter Morton, 23 Hendrik Bredenkamp.
Referees: Eduan Nel, Gerrie de Bruin
FNB Maties v FNB Wits
(Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch – Kick-off: 19.00)
FNB Maties: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Clearance Khumalo, 13 Mark Hodgskiss, 12 Louis Jordaan, 11 Caleb Smith, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jean Nel, 8 Tertius Daniller (captain), 7 Helmut Lehmann, 6 Beyers de Villiers, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Nicol Heyns, 2 Freddie Kirsten, 1 Niel Oelofse.
Replacements: 16 Charl de Villiers, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 John Groenewald, 19 Lungelo Chonco, 20 Louis Nel, 21 Chris Smith, 22 Ben Kotze, 23 Liam Hendricks.
FNB Wits: 15 Ruhan Nel, 14 Mandla Dube, 13 Divan Ferguson, 12 Brent Crossley, 11 Nkuli Gamede, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Mathew Torrance, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Senna Esterhuizen, 6 JP Jonck, 5 JJ Breet, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Kelly Ferdinand, 2 Ashley Kohler, 1 Hannes Ludick.
Replacements: 16 James Marx, 17 Kyle Wood, 18 Conor Brockschmidt, 19 Thato Mavundla, 20 Rendani Ramovha, 21 Ish Nkolo, 22 Joshua Jarvis, 23 Gideon Muller.
Referees: Francois Pretorius, Quinton Immelman
FNB NMMU v FNB NWU-Pukke
(Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth – Kick-off: 19.00 live on Supersport One)
FNB NMMU Madibaz: 15 Jarryd Buys, 14 Tythan Adams, 13 Michael Bernardt, 12 Fanie Booysen, 11 Yamkela Ngam, 10 Gavin Hauptfleisch, 9 Daniel Acker, 8 Timothy Agaba, 7 Marcel Groenewald, 6 Christopher Cloete, 5 Louis Fourie, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).
Replacements: 16 Jody Reyneke, 17 Abongile Mnyaka, 18 Wade Elliot, 19 Andre Barnard, 20 Ivan Ludick, 21 Andile Jho, 22 Ayabula Dlepu, 23 Laurence Christie.
FNB NWU-Pukke: TBC
Referees: Ben Crouse, Jaco van Heerden
TMO: Christie du Preez
Varsity Shield fixtures:
FNB CUT v FNB Fort Hare
(CUT Rugby Stadium, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 19.00)
FNB UKZN v FNB TUT
(Peter Booysen Sports Park, Pietermaritzburg – Kick-off: 19.00)
Varsity Young Guns fixtures:
FNB UCT Young Guns v FNB UJ Young Guns
(UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town – Kick-off: 14.30)
UFS Young Guns v FNB Wits Young Guns
(Shimla Park, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 14.30)
Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship fixtures:
Steinhoff Oppidani v Steinhoff Patria
(Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth – Kick-off: 16.45)
Steinhoff Heimat v Steinhoff Humanities
(Shimla Park, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 16.45)