FNB Varsity Cup
VarsityCup.co.za analyses the respective teams’ prospects of relegation from the FNB Varsity Cup.
2022 log position: 5th 2021-22 combined log position: 6th
Remaining fixtures: FNB UCT Ikeys (home), FNB NWU Eagles (away)
What they need to do: FNB Wits may qualify for the 2022 semi-finals if they win their last two games. Two losses without any bonus points, however, may leave them in a vulnerable position with regards to relegation. If they lose heavily in the next two rounds, and FNB UWC win both of their remaining matches, then the Cape side will move ahead of FNB Wits on the combined log. If FNB UWC win both games and FNB CUT claim two losing bonus points – or even one win from their last two fixtures – then both of those teams will surpass FNB Wits. In that scenario, they will need FNB UJ to lose their games against FNB UWC and FNB UP-Tuks to stay in the top flight. If FNB Wits win one of their last two games, however, they will be safe from the drop.
2022 log position: 7th 2021-22 combined log position: 8th
Remaining fixtures: FNB UWC (away), FNB UP-Tuks (home)
What they need to do: In the context of the 2022 tournament, FNB UJ are still in with a chance of qualifying for the playoffs. In terms of the two-year campaign that will determine which eight teams remain in the top flight, and which sides drop down to the FNB Varsity Shield, however, FNB UJ are not safe yet according to the combined log. They need to beat FNB UWC next week to put the relegation matter to rest. They don’t want to leave themselves with too much to do in the last league game against FNB UP-Tuks. If they lose both of their remaining matches, they will need to pick up a couple of bonus points and hope that FNB Maties do them a favour by handing FNB UWC a heavy defeat in round nine. They could also finish ahead of FNB CUT in that scenario, if the Ixias don't claim any further log points from their remaining matches.
2022 log position: 8th 2021-22 combined log position: 9th
Remaining fixtures: FNB UJ (home), FNB Maties (away)
What they need to do: At the end of the current season, a single log point may determine whether FNB UWC remain in the top flight or drop down to the FNB Varsity Shield. With this in mind, FNB UWC will be kicking themselves after they allowed the FNB CUT Ixias to hit back in the latter stages of the last game, and claim two valuable log points. The upshot is that FNB UWC trail FNB CUT by five points – as opposed to three – on the combined log with two rounds to play. It’s looking like they will have to win both of their remaining matches to survive. While one wouldn’t underestimate them at home, they will be hard-pressed to beat FNB Maties at the fortress-like Danie Craven Stadium. A win against FNB UJ may be enough to keep them in the FNB Varsity Cup, providing they improve their points-differential and other results go their way.
Coach Paul Treu: ‘The win against CUT was bittersweet. We allowed them to get back into the game and get two additional bonus points. It’s disappointing if you consider what's at stake [with relegation]. We are going to regroup and reflect, and then try our best [to win the last two games and remain in the FNB Varsity Cup].’
2022 log position: 9th 2021-22 combined log position: 10th
Remaining fixtures: FNB Maties (away), FNB UFS Shimlas (home)
What they need to do: There is nothing they can do, at least not for themselves. They cannot make up the difference between themselves and the other teams on the combined log, and will be relegated at the end of the season. They could do a few others teams a favour, though, if they score an upset win against FNB Maties or FNB UFS Shimlas, or even if they prevent either of those sides from claiming a four-try bonus point.
Coach David Manuel: ‘The campaign hasn’t gone the way we wanted. We need to improve on our mistakes and get our game right. We have two more fixtures and we consider these to be must-win games. It’s important to regroup, and to have a positive mindset. We need to put up a better fight.’
FNB CUT IXIAS
2022 log position: 10th 2021-22 combined log position: 7th
Remaining fixtures: FNB NWU Eagles (home), FNB UCT Ikeys (away)
What they need to do: The FNB CUT Ixias are playing for pride as well as survival. They could do a few of the top teams a favour if they beat the Eagles or the Ikey Tigers. If they claim losing bonus points from those fixtures, they may well avoid the wooden spoon for the 2022 tournament. In the context of the relegation battle, they are five log points ahead of FNB UWC on the combined table. If the Ixias claim one losing bonus point next Monday – at least – and FNB UWC fail to claim any points from their fixture against FNB UJ, then FNB UWC will be relegated. The odds are against the Ixias winning their remaining matches but, as seen in their recent attacking performance against FNB UWC, they certainly have what it takes to score four tries and claim bonus points.
Coach Braam van Straaten: 'If we can execute the controllable aspects well, we can remain clear of the relegation zone. We aren't even looking at our last match yet. For now, our focus is our last home match against the Eagles. I remain totally confident that we will stay in the Varsity Cup.'
Photos: Catherine Kotze/Barco Greeff/Nasief Manie/Asem Engage