Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA
Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA

Who will forget the day Tuks registered three figures against UCT in the 2016 Varsity Cup. 

The game took place at the Green Mile and the Ikey Tigers under head coach Hanyani Shimange were beaten 100-25.

The season saw the 2011 and 2014 champions fail to win a single game in the league phase, leading to a promotion/relegation match against Varsity Shield side UWC, which they won to hold onto their top-flight status. Former Springbok hooker Shimange departed the scene after only one season in charge. In stepped Christiaan Esterhuizen and the former Ikeys player improved things significantly, especially in terms of pride for the famed jersey.   

This season his side has won two from six and hold down sixth place on the table headed by Tuks, their next opponents.

The Capetonians need to win this one to keep alive hopes of a top-four finish. The other contenders are Pukke (third), Shimlas (fourth) and CUT (fifth).

Frontrunners Tuks and defending champions Maties have broken away from the chasing pack and are locked on 28 log points. Tuks lead thanks to a superior points differential of 16, having played one more game than their Stellenbosch counterparts.

Both have secured home semifinals with two rounds left in the round-robin phase.

Unbeaten side

Maties, the only unbeaten side, welcome Shimmies to the Danie Craven Stadium (kickoff 6.30pm) and should win with plenty to spare. 

They’ve won six on the bounce and are on a 16-game winning streak stretching back to last season (went 10-0 on their way to a first title in eight years).

Shimmies come into the encounter off a shock first-ever loss to CUT. The men from Bloemfontein went down 38-35 to record their third loss from six outings.

League rookies UWC also had reason to smile last week when they bagged a first win of the campaign, beating UJ 29-17. It ended a five-game losing streak for coach Chester Williams and his charges but left them in last place on the log (five points). They travel to Wits and could surprise again.

Wits haven’t been the same side since pushing Maties in the opening round back in February. But spirits were lifted last time out after the 30-29 home victory over UCT, which halted a four-game winless run.

CUT have it all to do at home to Pukke. Though they surprised friend and foe by putting one over Shimmies, this time around they face a rival who will be keen to bounce back after going down 28-0 at home to Tukkies.