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Big Game: FNB UWC vs FNB UJ

FNB Varsity Cup

The FNB Varsity Cup relegation battle will come to a head when FNB UWC host FNB UJ on Monday.

We’ve reached the business end of the FNB Varsity Cup, and seven of the 10 teams remain in the hunt for a place in the playoffs. At the other end of the scale, as many as five sides are still in the relegation picture.

The FNB Madibaz will be relegated to the FNB Varsity Shield at the end of the current season, as they have accumulated the fewest points over the past two years and are ranked last on the combined 2021-22 log.

It remains to be seen which of FNB UWC, FNB CUT Ixias, FNB UJ, or FNB Wits will join them in taking the drop.

FNB UJ will be going all out to secure their place in the top flight when they tackle FNB UWC in Cape Town on Monday. While Jonathan Mokeuna’s team is still in the hunt for a place in the FNB Varsity Cup semi-finals, winning this match – and remaining in the elite tournament – should be their priority.

It will be interesting to see how the importance of the fixture shapes the tactics of both teams. Risks will be kept to a minimum as both teams attempt to secure the victory and a valuable four log points.

Can FNB UWC exploit the local conditions? Many of the fixtures staged at UWC this season have been impacted by strong winds in the area.

If they can harness that wind to their advantage, and maintain their intensity for 80 minutes, they will put themselves in a position to upset the more-fancied side from Johannesburg.

FNB UJ will be aiming for a strong start. If they manage to build a substantial lead in the first half, they may be in a position to push for a four-try bonus point later in the game. That bonus point will boost their bid for a place in the playoffs.

FNB UWC must remain competitive for the duration of the fixture. A loss by seven points or fewer will earn them a losing bonus point, and keep their slim hopes of remaining in the FNB Varsity Cup alive.

Those hopes, however, will hinge on other results over the course of rounds eight and nine going their way.

FNB UWC vs FNB UJ (Monday, 17:00, UWC Stadium, SuperSport channel 211)

FNB UWC – 15 Gilroy Lee Philander, 14 Tasriq Mynhardt, 13 Aydon Topley, 12 Lubelo Scott, 11 Will Vraagom, 10 Lyle Hendricks (c), 9 Conwill Conradie, 8 Romauld Ntumba, 7 Godfrey Muzanargwo, 6 Nicholas Chipanje, 5 Jaen-Louis de Lange, 4 Liam Tattersal, 3 Riaan van der Merwe, 2 Mauritz Swart, 1 Haniel du Toit. Subs: 16 Marshaleno Valensky, 17 Keanuh Michaels, 18 Andries Engelbrecht, 19 Asive Mjoli, 21 Peter Williams, 22 Tandile Hoyi, 23 Justin Theys, 24 Johannes van Biljon.

FNB UJ – 15 Shaun-Christian Baxter, 14 Likhaya Tengimfene, 13 Musawenkosi Tshabalala, 12 Indiphile Tyeda, 11 Ilunga Mukendi, 10 Jonathan Viljoen, 9 Keegan Joubert, 8 Buhlebenkosi Qaba, 7 CJ Masuku, 6 Kelvin Kanenungo (c), 5 Brendon Pawson, 4 Philip Apea-Adu, 3 Chergin Fillies, 2 Darnell Osuagwu, 1 Kayden Kiewit. Subs: 16 Elizee Kwitonda, 17 Andrew Siminyu, 18 Ntokozo Hlophe, 19 Babalo Makana, 20 Connor van Buuren, 21 Mpho Kubheka, 22 Ruben Liebenberg, 23 Rowan Malgas.

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