Varsity Cup: Round 4 Preview

Two players tackling a player

The 2018 Varsity Cup will enter its fourth round on Monday the 19th of February. 

The 2018 Varsity Cup has been full of surprises and we saw yet another upset last week as CUT ran out victors over a much-fancied Madibaz outfit. The men from Potch face a much tougher prospect this week as they will square up against the unbeaten Maties out in Stellenbosch. Elsewhere, the Madibaz take on Wits in the day's opener, while Ikeys host Shimlas straight after the conclusion of the aforementioned fixture. The final game of the day pits Pukke against UJ.

NMMU Madibaz v Wits 
Monday 19 February 
NMU Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Madibaz 15/4
Draw 20/1
Wits 1/7
Madibaz (+14.5) 17/20
Wits (-14.5) 17/20

Two teams who endured a disappointing Round 3 will lock horns in Monday's opener with the Madibaz hosting Wits. The hosts come into this one off the back of 38-37 away defeat to a CUT side that has been in dire form. That was the Madibaz second loss on the trot as they were beaten 17-27 by Ikeys the week prior to the CUT defeat. Wits also had a tough time of it last week as they were hammered 44-24 by the Shimlas, with the result ending their unbeaten start to the season.

When these two sides met last year it was Wits who claimed the spoils running out 30-20 victors at the Wits Rugby Stadium.

Verdict: Wits (-14.5) 17/20
They may have been handed a reality check by Shimlas last week but I'm confident that Wits will bounce back in style from that 20 point loss by getting a comfortable win over the Madibaz. 

Maties v CUT
Monday 19 February
Danie Craven Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Maties N/A
Draw N/A
Maties (-49.5) 17/20
CUT (+49.5) 17/20

Next up we have your quintessential David versus Goliath match-up with title favourites Maties taking on relative cannon-fodder in the form of CUT. Maties head into this one with their unbeaten record intact as they saw off a much-improved Tuks outfit 24-16 last Monday. CUT also managed to bag a win last week as they pipped NMMU by a single point in a high-scoring affair.

When the two sides met last season it proved to be an absolute try-fest with Maties running out 44-73 victors. The 2016 clash between the two sides was slightly more subdued with Maties running out 40-0 victors.

Verdict: Maties (-49.5) 17/20
Maties should have no problems putting a mammoth score over their opponents as CUT simply have no idea how to defend as a unit.

UCT Ikeys v Shimlas
Monday 19 February 

UCT Rugby Fields

To Win (80 Mins)

Ikeys 31/20
Draw 20/1
Shimlas 9/20
Ikeys (+5.5) 17/20
Shimlas (-5.5) 17/20

The second of Monday's 18:30 double-header fixtures should be a more evenly contested match with scrum specialist Ikeys taking on the free-running Shimlas. The hosts caused quite a stir last week as their powerful pack helped guide them to a famous 18-15 win over Pukke. The Shimlas also enjoyed a productive Round 3 as they registered an impressive 20 point victory over a bang in-form Wits outfit.

Ikeys got the better of Shimlas last season as they ran out 7-22 victors at Shimla Park. 2016 was the Shimlas year, however, as they managed to bag a 17-23 away victory.

Verdict: Ikeys 31/20
I'm going to go the left field route here and tip the home team to win the game on the board. Their solid set piece should stand them in good stead against a Shimlas outfit who haven't been as strong at scrum time as one would expect.

NWU Pukke v UJ
Monday 19 February
Fanie du Toit Stadium


To Win (80 Mins)
Pukke 1/5
Draw 20/1

UJ 3/1
Pukke (-10.5) 17/20
UJ (+10.5) 17/20

The final fixture of the day is set to be an absolute cracker with Pukke playing host to UJ. Both teams have won one of the two fixtures they have played thus far with their victories both coming against CUT. Pukke went down by three points to Ikeys last week while UJ enjoyed a much-needed bye week.

In terms of the recent head-to-head results between the two sides, 2017 saw Pukke run out 12-16 victors at the UJ Stadium, while UJ won the 2016 instalment 31-36.

Verdict: UJ (+10) 17/20
Fixtures between these two sides have historically been rather tight. As such, my money is on the visitors staying within the plus handicap.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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