Our rugby scribe takes a look at Monday’s four Varsity Cup fixtures which are being played on the 6th of March.
There are only four more rounds of rugby to go until the 2017 Varsity Cup reaches its semi-final stage. Maties currently sit in pole position due to their 80+ points differential, although, they could be relegated from their lofty perch this evening as they take on the Shimlas, who are level on points with the Stellenbosch outfit. Strangely, this game will not be televised with the powers that be opting to broadcast the Tuks versus Shimlas clash and as well as the Pukke versus Wits game.
Tuks v CUT | Monday 6 March | Loftus Versveld | 16:45
To Win (80 Mins)
Tuks N/A | Draw 33/1 | CUT 14/1
Tuks (-34.5) 8/10 | CUT (+34.5) 9/10
Tuks will be in confident mood when they take on struggling CUT this evening. The visitors have shipped a staggering 153 points in the tournament already, at an average of 38.25 points per game. They make the trip to Pretoria off the back of a 20-73 hammering courtesy of UJ.
Tuks, on the other hand, have only conceded 63 points in their opening four matches, at an average of 15.75 points per game. They enjoyed a bye last week, which should see them come into this one fresh and ready to run in the tries.
Verdict: Tuks (-34.5) 9/10
Tuks haven’t really set the world alight with ball in hand but that could all change this Monday as CUT’s defensive line is as a porous as the Sunwolves'. The handicap is pretty high but my money is still on Tuks clearing it.
Pukke v Wits | Monday 6 March | Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds | 19:00
To Win (80 Mins)
Pukke 1/16 | Draw 25/1 | Wits 13/2
Pukke (+14.5) 9/10 | Wits (+14.5) 9/10
The second televised game of the day sees Pukke take on Wits. I actually think this one won’t be as clear cut as the bookmakers are thinking as Wits have shown some early promise and Pukke have already lost two games, albeit against stronger opposition.
The hosts come into this one off the back of a 35-23 defeat to the Shimlas while Wits will make the trip to Potch’ having gone down 25-9 to Tuks. The last time these two sides met was back in 2014. The game was a rather low-scoring affair with Pukke running out 16-8 victors at the Fanie du Toit Stadium.
Verdict: Wits (+14.5) 9/10
The fortunes of both these sides have changed greatly since they last met with Pukke going on to win last year’s Varsity Cup and Wits putting together a solid side whilst playing in the second tier. The plus handicap is a tad bit high for my mind, and thus my money is on Wits keeping it within the margin.
UJ 1/33 | Draw 28/1 | NMMU 15/2
UJ look a solid bet against NMMU. The men from Johannesburg were in scintillating form against CUT last week, notching up 73 points. NMMU have been decent this season but have struggled away from home losing to both Maties and Pukke. My money is on UJ clearing -16.5 cap.
Shimlas 14/10 | Draw 25/1 | Maties 5/10
This is quite an interesting one as both teams come into it off the back of some great results. I would avoid having a huge strike on this game as it really could go either way. A R25 stake on the hosts is where I’m leaning.