Varsity Cup: Round 8 Preview

Varsity Cup Round 8 Preview

We preview Round 8 of the 2017 Varsity Cup, which will see UJ and Wits open up proceedings. 

The penultimate set of round robin fixtures has thrown up a few tantalizing clashes with UJ and Wits squaring off at the Fanie du Toit Stadium, and Tuks locking horns with Ikeys. While the aforementioned games will be televised, there are also two non-televised clashes taking place today which see CUT take on Maties and Shimlas host the Madibaz.
UJ v Wits | Monday 20 March | Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds | 16:45

To Win (80 Mins)
UJ 1/7 | Draw 28/1 | Wits 4/1
UJ (-14.5) 9/10 | Wits (+14.5) 9/10

There’s a lot on the line in the day’s opener with both UJ and Wits looking to secure a semi-final berth. The hosts have the inside track as they are five points clear of today’s opponents. It’s not all doom and gloom for Wits, however, as the new boys do have a game in hand – they play Ikeys in the final week – over UJ.

Wits  were in fine fettle last week beating a dogged Madibaz outfit by ten points to make it back-to-back wins. UJ also managed to produce an impressive Round 7 results as they beat Ikeys by 28 points at the ‘Green Mile’.

The last time these two sides met was back in 2014 where UJ ran out 32-15 victors at today’s venue. 2013 also saw a big UJ win, as they ran out 24-63 winners at Wits Rugby Stadium.

Verdict: Wits (+14.5) 9/10
I have started to develop quite a soft spot for this Wits side – I’m a sucker for an underdog. These boys just seem to want it more than anyone else. Last week’s post-match interview with skipper Constant Beckerling showed just how passionate the 'Witsies' are. I’m expecting that passion to come to the fore today. I’ll be having a R30 punt on a Wits win but my main bet – a R100 stake – will be going on them to keep it within the plus handicap.

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Tuks v Ikeys | Monday 20 March | Tuks Rugby Stadium | 19:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Tuks N/A | Draw 40/1 | Ikeys 20/1
Tuks (-33.5) 9/10| Ikeys (+33.5) 9/10

Our final televised game sees a team that has a positive points differential of 182 take on a side whose current differential sits at negative 68. Tuks have been racking up points for fun, and they could well add a plethora to their already substantial tally this evening.

Ikeys make the trip to Pretoria off the back of a 28 point loss to UJ. The margin of defeat really doesn’t do justice to the Capetonians, who played some decent rugby at times. Tuks, on the other hand, managed to put in a complete performance during Round 7 as they hammered Shimlas 19-65.

Verdict: Tuks (-33.5) 9/10
I’ve kept the above segment short and sweet as I can only see one result here, which is a huge Tuks win. Get on the hosts to clear the handicap at 9/10. 

Quick-Fire Tips

CUT 25/1 | Draw 40/1 | Maties N/A (18:30)
CUT may have put in a spirited performance last week but they’re unlikely to repeat the trick this time around. It's a large handicap which means I won't be having a huge strike on it as I think there's value elsewhere. If you must have a punt, a strike on the -47.5 handicap is probably the best route to go.

Shimlas 2/7 | Draw 28/1 | NMMU 5/2 (18:30)
This is a rather intriguing fixture as the Shimlas have suffered some heavy defeats over the past fortnight while NMMU have a knack of losing within the handicap. I fancy the visitors to maintain their ‘Plus Kings’ mantle and keep the losing margin within the +8.5 handicap.

Written by Darry Worthington for!

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