All eyes on Green Mile
March 01, 2013
Although their fortunes have differed this season, there will be no lack of passion when Cape rivals FNB UCT and FNB Maties meet at the Green Mile on Monday.

The Ikeys are yet to record their first victory this season, so they will be looking for some inspiration when they welcome the log-leading Maties who have won all four of their matches thus far.

Ikeys coach Kevin Foote admitted that his team have been frustrated by a series of close losses, but added that they are looking forward to the challenge that Maties will present.

"It has been a bit frustrating so far this season as we have been close, but just haven't been able to finish it off. Maties have created a good winning culture, playing them is always a massive challenge and the guys know that it is a huge honour to play in this match," he said.

Maties coach Chris Rossouw said that he felt the Ikeys have been very unlucky in their games so far and pointed out that they have collected quite a few losing bonus points.

"The Ikeys have had a tough season, but they are much better than the results suggest," he said. "They are a very proud side and will definitively be a big challenge for our side."

"The Ikeys have a very balanced side, and can shift the ball across the park when they find their rhythm," he added.

As usual, the off-field banter has been fierce, with the two Varsities engaging in a battle on Twitter to see which side has more support. Although that will count for little when hostilities begin in Cape Town, with the action televised live on SuperSport One at 4.45pm.

In the other televised game on Monday, FNB UFS-Shimlas will be desperate to bounce back from their run of three consecutive defeats when they face FNB NWU-Pukke in Bloemfontein.

The Free State side went down to FNB NMMU in Port Elizabeth last week to add to home defeats to Maties and UP-Tuks, so they will be desperate to get their campaign back on track against a NWU-Pukke side that will be high on confidence following their tense victory over UCT in Potchefstroom.

In Pretoria, UP-Tuks will be out to restore their dented pride against newcomers FNB Wits, after their last-minute defeat to Maties last week.

The defending champions find themselves in fourth position in the standings after that heartbreaking loss, and they will be focused on taking a full-house of five log points off Wits who are struggling to find their feet in their debut season.

The NMMU Madibaz's impressive home form will be put to the test when they host a rampant FNB UJ who have not lost since their defeat to Maties in Stellenbosch in Round One.

The Eastern Cape side showed plenty of fighting spirit to overhaul UFS-Shimlas in the late stages of their clash last week, and they will have their hands full once more when they take on a UJ outfit that has built up some impressive momentum with three consecutive bonus-point wins.

In the Varsity Shield, the FNB TUT Vikings will be looking for their second victory of the competition when they head to Pietermaritzburg to face the FNB UKZN Impi, who recorded a morale-boosting win over Fort Hare in Alice last week.

Log-leaders FNB CUT will be intent on continuing their unbeaten start to the season in Bellville where they will face Peter de Villiers's side who have not dropped a game at home this year.

In the Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship there will be just one match on Monday with the Steinhoff Cobras from UCT taking on Steinhoff Bastion from UJ in the curtain-raiser for the Varsity Cup match.

Bastion got their campaign off to a flying start with a resounding victory over Wits outfit Steinhoff Commerce, but they face a much tougher assignment against the Cobras on their home track.

The FNB Varsity Young Guns competition will shadow the Varsity Cup, with an identical set of fixtures which are set to whet the appetites of the crowds.

There will be three curtain-raisers on Monday, March 4, with UFS-Shimlas meeting NWU-Pukke in Bloemfontein, UP-Tuks taking on Wits in Pretoria and NMMU facing UJ in Port Elizabeth, whilst the UCT and Maties junior sides will do battle directly after the Varsity Cup clash.

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