Semis or Relegation? All the permutations

At the end of the 2023 season, the team ending bottom of the Varsity Cup log will automatically be relegated to the Varsity Shield, while the team finishing top of the Varsity Shield log will automatically be promoted to the Varsity Cup.

Having not won a game, and on just 5 log points, with one round of league games to be played, last year’s champions, Tuks, cannot get themselves off the bottom of the log, and will thus find themselves in the Shield next year.

One of UWC or Madibaz (currently fighting it out for top spot on the Shield log) will thus be automatically promoted to the Cup in 2023. The other will get a chance to play against the team that finishes 7th on the Cup log in a promotion/relegation match on 17 April.

And if UJ beat Tuks in Pretoria this Monday with a bonus point, and the Ikeys lose to CUT in Bloemfontein without a losing bonus point, it will be the men in blue and white playing for their spot in the competition on 17 April!

“I think what is key as cliched as it sounds is to make sure we run a good week, training, messaging and energy-wise. I know how keen this team is to do well in this competition so I don’t see motivation being a problem. I think where our attention needs to lie is in being super prepared and connected. We know there is a chance that we qualify for a semi and a chance that we don’t qualify for a semi, then also a chance we have to play in a promo-relegation match – so there is a lot on the line. But like going on a very important date that you are excited about, you’ll always wear your best clothes and put on your best deodorant etc to make sure you are looking your best for that date – in a very important rugby match you also want to make sure you have your best clothes on, and that is akin to being super prepared and sticking to what you are good at.”


On 17 log points, UCT now find themselves fifth on the log, but with only 4 points separating positions 2 to 6 on the log, the Ikeys still have a realistic chance of making the semi-finals!

A win next Monday against CUT, together with Wits losing to log leaders NWU, sees the Ikeys guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals.

In fact, if Wits lose, a draw against CUT would probably do the trick.

If Wits do pull off a win against NWU, though, they will in all likelihood go through to the semis, leaving the Ikeys to scrap with the loser of Shimlas vs Maties to decide the final semi-finalist.

Throw in winning, losing and four try bonus points, and the permutations become endless, and it could well come down to points difference!

Lose, and there is talk of relegation. Win or draw, and the conversation is about making the semi-finals … Talk about a tightly contested tournament!

The Ikeys are away next Monday against CUT, but the game is being broadcast on SuperSport. Kick-off is at 17h00, and with the other three games kicking off at 19h00, win or lose, the men in blue and white will face an anxious 2 hours after the final whistle!