FNB Varsity Shield
Both teams will have plenty to play for when they clash in the final round of the FNB Varsity Shield in Mdantsane.
The FNB UFH Blues have won all five of their fixtures to date and are well placed to finish the league stage at the top of the standings.
There’s a good chance that Lumumba Currie’s charges will overtake the FNB UKZN Impi this Friday. As things stand, Fort Hare trail the Impi by a single point on the log.
The Impi have completed their allotted six league games and will not feature again until the playoffs.
The Blues will be pushing for a top-place finish – and ultimately the right to host a semi-final, and possibly a final. A loss to FNB DUT will open the door for FNB CPUT to secure a home playoff via a big win against the WSU All Blacks.
FNB DUT have defied expectations to claim two scalps in this year’s campaign. Another win will ensure that they finish ahead of FNB Rhodes in the combined 2021-22 standings and avoid relegation from the FNB Varsity Shield.
At the very least, FNB DUT should be targeting a bonus point. That will take their overall tally on the combined log to seven points and leave FNB Rhodes (currently on four points) needing a win against the FNB TUT Vikings on Friday evening to avoid relegation.
Fort Hare have relied on their pack to inflict much of the damage over the course of their campaign. They should target FNB DUT at the scrums and unleash their powerful ball carriers in midfield. In Keith Chiwara, they have a kicker with the ability to convert set-piece and gainline dominance into points.
The Blues have to take their chances when they arise. As we witnessed last week, FNB DUT are extremely well conditioned and tend to come into their own when the game opens up in the second stanza.
Fort Hare must ensure that they take a substantial lead into the break and maintain their focus to claim an expected yet important victory.
FNB UFH BLUES vs FNB DUT (Friday, 15:00, Sisa Dukashe Stadium, SuperSport channel 207)
FNB UFH Blues – 15 Apiwe Sidloyi, 14 Mziyabulela Bathu, 13 Ryan Maree, 12 Migcobo Bovu, 11 Lilitha Mdladlana, 10 Keith Chiwara, 9 Merlin du Plessis, 8 Rodney Chikamhi, 7 Ayabulela Xhosana, 6 Lukhanyiso Tosholwana, 5 Walter Moyo, 4 Cinga Nqotyana, 3 Mnkani Sibabalo, 2 Kamvelihle Fatyela (c), 1 Edwin Nxumalo. Subs: 16 Langalethu Susela, 17 Bulela Magopeni, 18 Mbasa Sonkosi, 19 Lutho Methusi, 20 Avuzwa Noko, 21 Lwazi Madiba, 22 Liyema Tyali, 23 Senanelo Ndlazi.
FNB DUT – 15 Mthokozisi Hlatshwayo, 14 Simtembile Mazwi, 13 Prince Sokhela, 12 Ndumiso Dludla, 11 Langelihle Ntombela, 10 Minenhle Siwela, 9 Ian de Fouw, 8 Katambwa Mulumba (c), 7 Willem Bezuidenhout, 6 Menzi Nxumalo, 5 Alethwa Buthelezi, 4 Alberth Kapenda, 3 Siyabonga Mzolo, 2 Siyanda Mthembu, 1 Mpumelelo Xego. Subs: 16 Menzi Myeni, 17 Pernel Ngubo, 18 Malcom Manhanga, 19 Malusi Mkhize, 20 Thabani Mnisi, 21 Mpumelelo Hlophe, 22 Sipho Mohuli, 23 Lulama Hlatshwayo.
NOTE: Teams are supplied by the universities and are subject to change