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Varsity Cup: Round 2 Preview
Our in-house rugby scribe previews the second round of the 2017 Varsity Cup.
Week 1 proved to be extremely profitable for yours truly with Tuks and NMMU both arriving at over even money. Unfortunately, the UJ and Wits boys were unable to make it a perfect start to the tipping campaign with both sides narrowly going down in some atrocious Highveld conditions.
The weather conditions for round 2 are a lot more promising with the UCT and CUT's match set for clear skies as well as the Maties v Wits game. Anyway enough with the pleasantries, let’s get into the meat of the piece.
Ikeys v CUT | UCT Rugby Fields | Monday 6 February | 16:45
To Win (80 Mins)Ikeys 6/10 | Draw 22/1 | CUT 13/10
UCT (-3.5) 9/10 | CUT (+3.5) 9/10
UCT were always in for a hard 2017 but not many people would have tipped them to go down by 28 points to the Madibaz in the opening round. Hanyani Shimange’s men will look to bounce back from last week’s horrendous showing when they clash with Tiaan Leibenberg’s CUT later today.
This will be the visitors first game of the season as they enjoyed a bye during the opening round. While they have been perennial – and are yet to make a semi-final – they will still fancy their chances against the former champions.
Verdict: CUT (+3.5) 9/10
This is probably the toughest game of the round to call. Both sides struggled for form last year with UCT finishing last and CUT third to last. They were only separated by four points on the 2016 final standings with CUT’s one-point home victory over today’s opponents making all the difference.
NWU-Puk v NMMU Madibaz |Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds | Monday 6 February | 19:00
To Win (80 Mins)
Pukke 1/8 | Draw 28/1 | NMMU 4/1
Pukke (-12.5) 9/10 | NMMU (+12.5) 9/10
The second televised round 2 fixture pits the defending champions up against the up and coming Madibaz. Both sides come into this one off the back of impressive victories with Pukke beating UJ 16-12 and NMMU seeing off UCT 36-8.
While Pukke did see off NMMU quite comfortably last year – they ran out 46-16 victors – it must be remembered that both sides have completely revamped squads.
Verdict: NMMU (+12.5) 9/10
The handicap just seems a bit too big this week. And as such, I’ll be having a strike on the Madibaz keeping it within the +12.5 margin.
Quick Fire tips
UJ v Shimlas
UJ were extremely unlucky to go down to the defending champions last week. I was rather impressed by their forward pack and I reckon they’ll give Shimlas a hard time here. Get on the –7.5 at 9/10
Maties v Wits
This will be a real acid test for Wits and I honestly can’t see them passing it. They were decent last week but taking on Maties at the Danie Craven Stadium is probably the most daunting fixture in the competition. Get on the Maties minus at 9/10.