FNB Varsity Cup Final preview: FNB Maties v FNB UP-Tuks

An unbeaten FNB Maties will be compete in their fourth consecutive final, when they host FNB UP-Tuks at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Monday, 15 April.

 

This will be Maties’ ninth FNB Varsity Cup final, which is the most finals appearances by a team in the competition’s history. They have won the title four times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2018).

 

For the boys from Pretoria, this will be their fifth FNB Varsity Cup final, tying FNB NWU for the second most final appearances in the competition’s history. Tuks have won the title three times, all three against Maties (2012, 2013, 2017).

 

The Maroon Machine ended their season on 38 points, while FNB UP-Tuks finished on 30 points. The maximum points a team can acquire in the season is 40.

 

The two teams competed in a tightly contested game in Round Three of the competition where FNB Maties were lucky with a 26-24 victory at the Tuks Stadium.

 

This season, FNB Maties star-winger Edwill van der Merwe became the top-try scorer in FNB Varsity Cup history, after scoring 23 tries overall. While, FNB UP-Tuks fly-half Tinus de Beer became the top point scorer in history, with 238 points in total.

 

Head-to-Head stats

 

Overall:

  • Played: 18
  • Maties won: 10
  • Tuks won: 7
  • Draw: 1
  • Maties points for: 490
  • Tuks points for: 454
  • Maties tries for: 58
  • Tuks tries for: 54
  • Average score: Maties 27-25 Tuks

 

Venue:

 

  • Played: 11
  • Maties won: 8
  • Tuks won: 2
  • Draw: 1
  • Maties points for: 374
  • Tuks points for: 264
  • Maties tries for: 46
  • Tuks tries for: 32
  • Average score: Maties 34-24 Tuks

 

Finals:

 

  • Played: 3
  • Maties won: 0
  • Tuks won: 3
  • Maties points for: 47
  • Tuks points for: 101
  • Maties tries for: 5
  • Tuks tries for: 11
  • Average score: Maties 16-34 Tuks

 

FNB Maties captain, Chris Massyn:

 

On reaching their fourth final in a row: “It’s business as usual for us. Last year was of course our biggest win and we’d love a back to back, who wouldn’t?”

 

“Our main thing is to keep FNB UP-Tuks at bay and give them as little room to move as possible.”

 

On this week’s training: “Our training schedule changed a bit due to it being test weekend in Stellenbosch. There needed to be minimal disruptions but all-in-all, we are happy with how training has been so far.”

 

On lessons learnt after their Round Robin match against FNB UP-Tuks: “We underestimated them. There’s no excuse around it. They have a strong kicking game and we will need to contain that.”

 

On FNB UP-Tuks’ biggest strengths: “They have a great scrum, great line-out and set piece. We will need to disrupt that to make our game a little easier.”

 

Team

 

FNB Maties XV: 15 Reinhardt Fortuin, 14 Munier Hartzenberg, 13 David Brits, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Chait, 9 Remu Malan, 8 Stephan Streicher, 7 Chris Massyn (c), 6 Johann van Niekerk, 5 Ben-Jason Dixon, 4 Zirk Jansen, 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Daniel Jooste, 1 Wayrin Losper.

 

Subs: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Piet Strauss, 19 Mitchell Carstens, 20 Jesse Johnson, 21 Brendon Nell, 22 Anton du Toit, 23 Carlisle Nel.

 

FNB UP-Tuks captain, Marius Verwey:

 

On lessons learnt after their Round Robin match against FNB Maties: “We need to be more critical and stick to our processes for the entire 80 minutes.”

 

On playing at the Danie Craven Stadium: “The thousands of fans definitely have the biggest impact. But we aren’t worried because we usually do well when we travel to Stellenbosch.”

 

On the challenges FNB Maties might pose on Monday: “They would want to take advantage of our mistakes and they are also seeking momentum. We must just make sure that we don’t give them any of that.”

 

Team

 

FNB UP-Tuks XV: 15 Vaughen Isaacs, 14 Dewald Naude, 13 Lourens Pretorius, 12 Erich Cronje, 11 Irvin Ali, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Theo Maree, 8 Denzel Hill, 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Stephan Smit, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Marius Verwey (c), 3 Jean-Pierre Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Etienne Janeke.

 

Subs: 16 Werner Fourie, 17 Jacobus Eloff, 18 Bart le Roux, 19 Brian Leitch, 20 Raegan Oranje, 21 Damian Bonaparte, 22 Xolisa Guma, 23 Ewart Potgieter.

 

Miss Varsity Cup:

On Monday night, the Miss Varsity Cup winner will be announced during half-time.

 

Tournament awards nominees:

FNB Forward Player that Rocks: Denzel Hill (FNB UP-Tuks), Gideon van der Merwe (FNB NWU), Ernst van Rhyn (FNB Maties).

FNB Backline Player that Rocks: Chris Smit (FNB Maties), Edwill van der Merwe (FNB Maties), Jordan Chait (FNB Maties).

FNB Overall Player that Rocks: Schalk Hugo (FNB NWU), Nyasha Tarusenga (FNB UCT), Chris Smit (FNB Maties).