Battle of Bloem as derby day draws closer

FNB Varsity Cup

Round Seven of the 2019 FNB Varsity Cup sees the two Bloemfontein neighbours, FNB CUT and FNB Shimlas lock horns in a match that draws full-house crowds wherever they meet.

This year they clash at CUT Rugby Stadium, and a massive crowd is expected to witness, what is expected to be a titanic battle of Bloem bragging rights.

We can talk about the history of their annual bashes and average scores, even play off the expected duals in most positions between these two super teams of Free State rugby, but once the first ball is kicked off, no piece of paper will count for anything on that field.

Up front the battle will be fierce. No mercy asked or given. Supremacy in the forwards will be of total importance, and both teams have what it takes to stand and deliver.

So it will come down to the two back divisions. This is where the visiting FNB Shimlas could have the edge over the hosts. The Shimlas backline has shown all season that they have all the ammunition to produce results out wide, and the key could be the defensive abilities of FNB CUT to prevent the FNB Shimlas speedsters running wild.

In the final analysis, it would seem that the old saying of limiting your mistakes and protect your possession and territory with all your might, may be the final difference between a vital win or a sad loss in this encounter.

The two teams have totally different season aims in round seven. Where the FNB Shimlas still have hopes and ambitions of reaching the semi-finals, CUT should now be clear from the bottom spot on the log, giving them the luxury of playing with less pressure and more freedom against their more fancied opponents from the city’s west side.

The one interesting aspect to watch on Monday, is how the two coaches’ strategies will differ in this battle. Both coaches are very experienced and have proven successful this season. However, the biggest difference between the two sides could just be in the depth of their numbers – with Kovsies enjoying at least six times more available players on their campus.

So, its “Big Brother” up against the “Little Ixias”. Who knows what can happen…