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Varsity Cup: Round 3 Preview
Our rugby scribe runs the rule over Monday’s four Round 3 Varsity Cup games, including the headline clash between Maties and Pukke.
Round 3 has certainly thrown up a few epic clashes with a replay of last year’s final being the pick of the bunch. Maties will have revenge on their minds when they tackle defending champions Pukke at the Danie Craven Stadium while Wits will be looking to claim their first victory of the season when they host the Madibaz in the first of Monday’s two televised games.
Wits v CUT | Monday 13 February | Wits Rugby Stadium | 16:45
To Win (80 Mins)
Wits 1/12 | Draw 25/1 | CUT 6/1
Wits (-18.5) 9/10 | CUT (+18.5) 9/10
Wits have given a decent account of themselves since being promoted to the top tier. They have had some huge plus handicaps affixed to their names and they’ve managed to stay within the margin in their opening two fixtures. They followed their narrow opening round loss to Shimlas up with a 12 point defeat to Maties in Stellenbosch. They were in with a sniff of winning both of these fixtures but tired legs and poor execution cost them on both occasions.
CUT got their campaign underway against UCT last week and they will be extremely disappointed not to have got off to a winning start with mediocre line out feeds and some lacklustre defence costing them dearly.
Verdict: Wits 1/12
The new boys have shown some decent form in the opening two weeks and I think they’ll bag their first ever Varsity Cup win here.
Maties v NWU Pukke Monday 13 February | Danie Craven Stadium | 19:00
To Win (80 Mins)
Maties 5/10 | Draw 20/1 | Pukke 14/10
Maties (-4.5) 9/10 | Pukke (+4.5) 9/10
This is sure to be a classic match with last year’s finalists going toe-to-toe in front of a vociferous crowd. The hosts are yet to put in a complete performance but there were positive signs during last week’s win over Wits, particularly during the final quarter of the game.
Pukke, on the other hand, have hit the ground running and look a solid shout to defend their title. They’ve already registered an away win over UJ and last week's 37-7 demolish of NMMU on home soil was mightily impressive.
Verdict: Pukke 14/10
This will displease Maties supporters no end, but my money is on Pukke. The men from Potchefstroom have picked up where they left off from last year and look a cut above the rest while Maties are yet to really hit their straps. Get on an away win at 14/10
Quick Fire Tips
Shimlas v UCT
Ikeys may have won last week but it was more a case of CUT’s atrocious game management rather than the Capetonians putting in a solid shift that saw them to victory.
My money is on Shimlas clearing the -24.5 cap.
TUKS v NNMU
The hosts come into this one off the back of an early bye while the visitors have been racking up the miles, travelling from Cape Town to Potchefstroom and now Pretoria. They may be youngsters but that sort of time on the road has got to take its toll. As such, my money is on TUKS running in a multitiude of tries during the final quarter of the game and subsequently clearing the -20.5 cap.