FNB Shimlas must tackle FNB Pukke in Bloemfontein at the Xerox Shimla Park on Monday 27 February 2017 in the fifth round of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International.
FNB Shimlas had a difficult week, playing their game against FNB CUT on Tuesday due to the field that was not playable on Monday because of heavy rain. They had to dig deep to eventually win the game 22-13 on a muddy and soaked field.
Both their games in past weeks were played on soaked pitches and wet conditions, not the best conditions for the FNB Shimlas who want to play high tempo rugby. FNB Shimlas are currently second on the log with 14 points, only the points difference distinguishing them from FNB Maties who are currently top of the log.
“I think the more you play in these wet and muddy circumstances the more you get used to it and adapt easier,” said Hendro Scholtz, the FNB Shimlas coach. Due to the heavy rains during the week and the forecast for the weekend the game will likely be played in wet circumstances again.
FNB Pukke are currently third on the log with 13 points and will definitely travel to Bloemfontein aiming for nothing less than a win. FNB Pukke are a balanced team that play their rugby hard and grind it results until the last minute.
Their backs are capable of running the ball and the flyhalf dictates the game with tactical kicking. The captain of the FNB Pukke, Jeandre Rudolph, is injured but will be replaced by the talented no.8 Marno Redelinghuys. The statistics for the last game of the FNB Pukke confirm that they are effective in first-phase ball possession, scrums and lineouts, and are able to carry the ball effectively. They achieved the gain line 63 times of the 74 times they carried the ball.
The FNB Shimlas coaching team are still adamant to stick to their initial plan but will definitely take the wet conditions into consideration. Marco Mason’s kicking boot will definitely play a role in the game against FNB Pukke where he showed in the previous game against FNB CUT that he can make huge difference in the game securing five penalties and a conversion.
Lock Nicolaas Immelman, who returned from injury is the only change in the FNB Shimlas team.
FNB Shimlas and FNB Pukke are old rivals, so you can be assured that no love will be lost in this encounter.
“We know that FNB Pukke is a tough customer, they will be coming for us, there is no easy game in the Varsity Cup,” said coach Hendro Scholtz.
Varsity Cup supporters make sure you don’t miss the game; it will be tough until the final whistle blows.
FNB Shimlas starting XV: 15 Sechaba Motsoela, 14 Vuyani Maqina, 13 Lihleli Xoli, 12 Stephen Janse Van Rensburg (C), 11 Marco Mason, 10 Niel Stannard, 9 Dian Badenhorst, 8 Bernardus Erasmus, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Nicolaas Immelman, 4 Raymond Woest, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Hanno Snyman, 1 Johan Kotze
Replacements: 16 Francois Steyn, 17 Kwenzokuhle Blose, 18 Thabiso Msiza, 19 Ruben Schoeman, 20 Musa Mahlasela, 21 Armand Pretorius, 22 Nicholas Naude, 23 Wilandre Kotzenberg
By Xander Snyders