FNB UCT Ikeys And FNB Maties To Fight For A Place In The 2022 Varsity Cup Final

 

FNB UFS Shimlas and FNB UCT Ikeys have been the strongest teams over the course of the tournament and deserved to finish the league stage at one and two on the log.

If all goes to plan, the two most expansive sides in the FNB Varsity Cup will meet in next week’s final. It would be interesting to see if both sides persisted with their respective game plans in a decider, or whether they attempted to play with more balance in order to clinch a trophy.

The Ikey Tigers made a statement when they beat FNB Maties 44-27 on the Green Mile in round seven and may feel like they’re the favourites heading into a semi-final showdown with their archrivals.

They’ve produced many spectacular come-from-behind performances over the course of the 2022 season – which is a testament to their character as well as their conditioning – and have cause to believe that they can chase a game, no matter the situation.

And yet, one has to ask why they have struggled to control so many games in the initial stages, and why they find themselves in these positions so often. Their forwards in particular will have a big point to prove in the coming playoff.

FNB Maties will look to their pack to pressure the hosts. They boast an impressive scrum and maul, and have been accurate in the red zone – as illustrated by hooker Sean Swart’s tally of nine tries in 2022.

The students from Stellenbosch will also have a point to prove. They weren’t at their best in the recent clash against FNB UWC and will need to make a step up on defence if they’re going to contain a multi-faceted Ikey Tigers attack.

They will be mindful of what transpired in the last fixture on the Green Mile. At one point, they appeared on course for a victory. In the blink of an eye, the Ikey Tigers scored two tries and FNB Maties failed to claim so much as a losing bonus point.

Flyhalf Adriaan van der Bank was one of the star performers during the first half of that derby. Unfortunately for FNB Maties, Van der Bank will be unavailable for the semi-final rematch.

Nevaldo Fleurs will be tasked with implementing a kicking game that can put FNB UCT under pressure. If the FNB Maties pack fails to fire, and if the visitors kick poorly, they will be chasing Tiger tails for 80 minutes.

FNB UCT Ikeys – 15 Duran Koevort, 14 Rihaz Fredericks, 13 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 12 Rethabile Louw, 11 Ntokozo Makhaza, 10 David Hayes, 9 William Rose, 8 Taariq Kruger, 7 Thomas Meyer, 6 Sipho Dyonase, 5 Reynhardt Crous, 4 Conor Evans, 3 Keagan Glade, 2 Keagan Blanckenberg, 1 Luthando Woji (c). Replacements: 16 Alex Castle, 17 Lukhanyiso Bomela, 18 Alizwa Mngqeta, 19 Mika Schubert, 20 Jason MacLeod Smith, 21 Imad Khan, 22 Kian Davis, 23 Athi Gazi.

FNB Maties – 15 Sibabalwe Xamlashe, 14 Marcqiewn Titus, 13 Waqar Solaan, 12 Taigh Schoor, 11 Anton du Toit, 10 Nevaldo Fleurs, 9 Thomas Bursey, 8 Simon Miller, 7 De Wet Marais, 6 Gift Dlamini (c), 5 Matt Gray, 4 Juan Beukes, 3 Matimu Manganyi, 2 Sean Swart, 1 Vernon Matongo. Replacements: 16 Chris Rossouw, 17 Rhynardt Rijnsburger, 18 Friedrich Weilbach, 19 Jesse Johnson, 20 Louw Nel, 21 Mckyle Volmoer, 22 Jurie Matthee, 23 Mike Mavovana.