UJ will host UCT in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon, with the outcome determining which team will make the semis. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA

DURBAN – Round nine of the Varsity Cup kicks off tonight with a number of teams still hoping to do enough to stay in the race for a playoff spot, or even to secure a home semi-final.

Pukke will be braced for a rejuvenated Maties when they host the men from Stellenbosch in Potchefstroom in the final game of the night, at 7pm.

It will be the clash of the titans as the top two teams fight for supremacy in Potchefstroom, with the winners of the bout likely to claim a home final, should both sides make it through. Maties and NWU have both already secured home semi-finals, with Maties going undefeated and NWU losing just one game against UCT.

In the game before the table-topping clash, UJ host UCT in Johannesburg at 6.30pm, with the outcome of the clash determining which team will make the semis.

UJ currently sit in fourth spot on the standings with 23 points.

UCT, meanwhile, are just behind them in fifth place with 20 points, meaning that UJ’s path to the semi-finals is clear and simple; they need to win.

UCT, on the other hand, need to make sure they either get a bonus-point win or deny the opposition picking up any losing bonus points.

At the same time, Madibaz will need to beat Tuks in Pretoria if they are to have any chance of staying in the competition. Relegation looms for Madibaz who currently sit at the bottom of the table. The men from Port Elizabeth have not won a single game this season and are in serious threat of being replaced by UWC, who were recently promoted from Varsity Shield.

Hope is not lost for David Maidza’s side, who currently have four points, because if they beat Tuks and CUT lose to Shimlas without picking up a bonus point, Madibaz will leap-frog CUT and be safe from relegation for another two years.

The opening game will see egos, pride and a possible semi-final berth on the line when Shimlas host CUT at Shimla Park in the Bloemfontein Derby.

Shimlas have had a mix bag of a season after a series of disappointing losses, but have also pulled off some thrilling victories. Their opening wins over Tuks, followed by a solid 44-24 victory over Wits and an away 32-27 win over UCT, looked as though they might have kick started a successful season. But a resounding 49-12 defeat to UJ and a whopping 56-21 loss against NWU, meant Shimlas have looked less impressive.

Shimlas can still make the semi-finals, provided they get a full complement of points against their rivals and a few other results go their way.

Cape Times

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