UCT log jam to be eased? Preview Week 4

The Internal League resumes this week for the last round of fixtures before students head into exams and holidays. Wednesday’s games will leave all teams with their final standings for stage one and give us an idea of where the competition is going.

In a game that should prove interesting, Ubumbo take on Clarendon. Like Marquad, Clarendon has had some good wins over established sides though, unlike Marquad they have shown good consistency in their last two games whereas Marquad have dropped the ball somewhat since their win over Panthers. Both Ubumbo and Clarendon have two wins from two over the Spanners and the Turtles and both sides will be going all out for top spot of group D. Ubumbo are known for their attacking rugby whereas Clarendon have played a good territory game using structures to accumulate points and then their flyhalf to put the ball downfield. It should be interesting to see which style triumphs on the night with the weather report perhaps favouring the more expansive game of Ubumbo.
In what should be one of the best games of the week in terms of a close, hard fought game, Spanners will take on the Turtles. Both sides have been involved in some close losses this season and their players will feel that they haven’t fully hit their stride yet. As such both sides will be going out with a point to prove which should make for a truly entertaining spectacle. I feel that Turtles probably have more in the tank to take the overall victory but the game should be close and provide spectators with some thrilling moments.
The Panthers boys will be watching with interest from the sidelines as Marquad will face up to Ikhaya to decide who claims second spot in Group A behind Nadoes. Panthers and Nadoes have played their 3 games of stage one already with Nadoes assured of top spot and Panthers currently in second with 5 points. Placing third could potentially be disastrous for Panthers as they will then face up against stronger opposition in the second groups stage leaving their title challenge under pressure. For Marquad this game could be one of the most important of their season as an easier stage two group will provide a strong launch pad for an assault on the cup this year and a high finish. With so much on the line it will make for a very interesting fixture as it is possible, though unlikely, that Ikhaya could win by a big margin and leapfrog both teams into second by a bonus point and point’s difference.
Another potentially close fixture will be when Shebeen Boys face up to Smuts on the C field. This is another game that will decide second place should Baa Baa’s beat University House as they are expected to, this time of Group B. Smuts have shown they have the potential to make that dream a reality by playing some good rugby. Smuts have been on some good form this year with a side that is stronger than in previous years particularly in their back line and loose trio. Shebeen Boys on the other hand have struggled in the forwards and were woefully exposed on that front against the Baa Baa’s who walked over their scrum with ease. They do however, have a very talented flyhalf in Chris Roodt who can get the ball moving through the backline and, as he showed against the Baa Baa’s, pull off a few moments of individual magic. Nullifying this should be high on Smuts list of to-do’s and the first step will be forward domination at rucks and scrum time. If they can do that then Shebeen will have lost its most potent weapon. With so many factors in play and the sides seemingly evenly matched, this one may just be too close to call and should present an enthralling encounter.

Some of the top sides will also face up on Wednesday in games they should be expected to win comfortably. Cobra’s will take on College whilst Wildboys play Kopano and Baa Baa’s will play University House. The res sides could be in for a torrid time as all of these sides have been playing well at the moment and have alot of depth to their squads. It is tough to see an upset in any of these games, though with the Internal League surprises do happen, particularily around this time when alot of teams lose players because of exams.

One thing thats for sure is that this weeks fixtures will not disappoint spectators with the quality of rugby on display.

Rory Holmes
Full Fixtures:
Wildboys vs Kopano
Shebeen vs Smuts
Ubumbo vs Clarendon
Cobras vs College
Spanners vs Turtles
Marquad vs Ikhaya
Baa Baa’s vs University House

Weather Report:
Partly Cloudy with a moderate north-westerly wind. High of 25 degrees.