Elden Schoeman of Maties celebrates scoring a try with teammates against Wits. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Maties are favoured to tame the Ikey Tigers in round six of the Varsity Cup at Danie Craven Stadium tomorrow (7pm kickoff - live on SuperSport 1).

Home advantage and a sell-out crowd in their corner should seal the deal for the unbeaten Stellenbosch side.

The Maroon Machine have yet to have their famous colours lowered this campaign and they should end the night with win number five and still atopthe standings, which they currently lead by four points on 22.

Ikeys, however, will suss things out differently, and why not?

The class of 2018 under head coach Christiaan Esterhuizen have regained much-needed lost pride with game efforts so far which have produced three wins from five, the last achieved at home over defending champions Tuks, which sees the former two-time winners holding down third place on the 10-team table.

More wins than the previous two seasons combined is clear evidence of a team back in business and viewed as possible title contenders.

But three-time champs Maties are the form team and on a mission to win the trophy they last captured in 2008.

“Time to set the record straight,” said Maties coach Hawies Fourie, who is in his third year at the helm and has contested back-to-back finals.

“But right now we’re taking it one game at a time.

“So far so good although we were pushed by hosts Wits last Monday and had to settle for a 30-30 stalemate, after they bagged a seven-point score at the death.

“A wakeup call for sure in terms of how we go about things and the lads know where we went wrong, like the 40-odd missed tackles which is unacceptable.

“Before that we dominated the sides we have faced but for Tuks, who made us work hard for the victory.

“Now for the old enemy Ikeys who are enjoying an improved campaign.

“We will give them the respect they deserve but they can expect a tough encounter and our goal is to end up on the right side of the result.

“They love to go wide and we will need to be on-guard and make sure we compete in all areas and aim to dominate in the dead-ball plays.

“Our front five have done the business and will once again look to lay a solid foundation.”

Fourie is referring to front-rowers Chippie Oelofse (captain), Wilmar Arnoldi and Neethling Fouche as well as locks Johan Momsen and Brandon Valentyn.

Ikeys do not appear to have the pack power - are game - to match their rivals, so their best chance is to try and speed up the game at the breakdown points and in broken play.

They do that, and who knows?

Key players in this respect are Karl Martin, Liam Furniss and livewire fullback Khanyo Ngcukana, while the halfback combination of Pieter Schoonraad and flyhalf Darian Hock could be key to the outcome.

Then again, Maties are a talented collective, so let’s wait and see how this contest plays out.

High-flying Wits will be expected to pick up an away bonus-point victory over low-flying Free State rivals CUT, who have managed a solidary win from four outings.

Other fixtures (home teams first): Tuks v Pukke; UJ v NMMU

Weekend Argus

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