Varsity Cup semi-finals decided

Posted on March 29, 2017

With nine rounds of the Varsity Cup now complete, the cream has risen to the top with no real surprises. 

Perhaps there was one surprise; defending champions North-West University (Pukke) did not make the cut and will not be there to defend their crown, but the likes of Stellenbosch University (Maties), Tuks, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the University of the Free State (Shimlas) will battle it out to reach the final.

In the end, Tuks and Maties each managed to pick up bonus-point wins to finish equal on points, as they both began the round with 29. The team from Pretoria, however, secured top spot because of a superior points difference. UJ were hoping to beat Maties for a chance at a home semi-final, but were easily pushed aside to stay in third spot and set up a replay of this match for their semi-final.

Of the few other teams pushing for a spot in the top four before the round began, only Pukke had a chance of usurping the position of Shimlas, who were not playing in the final round. However, they needed a big result against Tuks to get themselves into fourth, and could not overcome the log leaders to get the much-needed points.

In the opening game of the night, even away from home, Tuks lived up to their reputation by defeating the defending champions comfortably, 43–28. The win gave the Tuks side the necessary points, but they also picked up the bonus point, securing them the top spot. 

Tuks knew that without a bonus point they could lose their top spot in the later game, but with the bonus, Maties would have to get five points and score a huge haul of points to beat the points difference spread.

Maties put their top-four opponents UJ to the sword to boost their points difference. They defeated UJ 65–19, getting close to that points differential in the end. The Maties semi-final is thus set up as a direct replay of this game in Round Nine.

Tuks will face Shimlas in the other semi-final in Pretoria, as first plays fourth with the team from Bloemfontein being well rested after their last round bye.

In the other games, which had little bearing on the semi-final playoffs, the University of the Witwatersrand managed to pick up another win in their most successful season to date, beating the University of Cape Town 35–23.

Central University of Technology completed their nine rounds of Varsity Cup action without picking up a single win, going down to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 40–14.

- Author Darryn Pollock

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences