Varsity Cup: Round 4 Preview

Varsity Cup Round 4 Preview

Our rugby scribe takes previews round 4 of the 2017 Varsity Cup. 

Rugby fans are in for a treat this week with a massive amount of oval-balled action set to provide hours of entertainment over the next seven days. Our first port of call is the Varsity Cup, which is proving to be extremely competitive this year with only two points separating log leaders Maties and the fifth-placed Ikeys.

Today’s two-televised fixtures see CUT take on the Shimlas and UJ and Tuks go head-to-head, while the non-televised contests see Pukke take on Ikeys and Maties and the Madibaz square off.

CUT v Shimlas | Monday 20 February | CUT Rugby Stadium | 16:45

To Win (80 Mins)
CUT 7/1 | Draw 28/1 | Shimlas 1/25
CUT (+21.5) 17/20 | Shimlas (-21.5) 17/20
The hosts have had a really poor start to the season going down to Ikeys in a tight affair and then being hammered 39-3 by Wits. Their lineout has resembled a comedy sketch while their scrum has been a shambles.

Shimlas' positive start to the 2017 campaign was ended by Ikeys, who produced the shock of round 3 by seeing off Shimlas by 15 points. Last week’s defeat epitomised the unpredictability of the tournament with the bookmakers having Ikeys priced up at the 10/1 mark. The result would have irked Shimlas' coaching unit no-end and we can expect a big response from the boys from the Free State.

Verdict: Shimlas (-21.5) 17/20
My money is on the visitors here. They will be looking for redemption and I can see them achieving this by putting a big score over their opponents. It's a rather large handicap but my money is on Shimlas clearing it. 

UJ v Tuks | Monday 20 February | UJ Stadium | 19:00

To Win (80 Mins)
UJ 26/10 | Draw 25/1 | Tuks 2/9
UJ (+9.5) 17/20 | Tuks (-9.5) 17/20
The game of the round sees UJ take on Tuks in a Highveld derby. The hosts enjoyed a bye last week, so they should be chomping at the bit to get back out on the field, while the visitors come into this one off the back of an impressive win over the Madibaz.

Tuks have absolutely annihilated UJ in the last two clashes between the sides, winning the 2015 encounter 34-0 and the 2016 contest 43-8. The visitors also come into this one off two impressive victories.

Verdict: Tuks (-9.5) 17/20
The Pretoria-based side have looked the most well-rounded of this year’s teams. They have already bagged a victory over Maties and my money is on them getting another win over one of their fellow semi-final challengers. Get on the Tuks – 9.5 at 9/10.

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Quick-Fire Tips
Pukke 2/13 | Draw 25/1 | Ikeys 15/4 
While these two sides experienced contrasting results last week – Pukke were hammered by Maties and Ikeys got one over Shimlas – I can’t see history repeating itself. Ikeys come into this one with a lot of confidence but their egos are likely to receive a real bruising this Monday. Get on Pukke to clear the -12.5 handicap at 8/10

Maties 1/50 | Draw 35/1 | NMMU 9/1
Maties were extremely impressive last week, inflicting revenge on a Pukke side who they went down in the 2016 final. While the Madibaz did give a decent account of themselves against Tuks last week, I can’t see them repeating the trick at the Danie Craven Stadium. Get on the Maties to clear the -22.5 cap at 17/20.

Written by Darry Worthington for!

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