The orange army will be out in force at the University of Johannesburg Stadium on Monday as thousands of fans get behind their team in the FNB Varsity Cup rugby semi-finals.

UJ may have ended second on the log, but their win over log leaders Maties in the final round earlier this week has provided the perfect platform for them to launch a bid for the title.

The Johannesburg students face tough Potchefstroom rivals Pukke in the first of the two playoff matches, beginning at 4.30pm.

In the other semi, Maties host northern challengers Tukkies in Stellenbosch.

A position in the semi-finals was not guaranteed for UJ going into Monday’s final playoff round, but they produced a solid performance against an under-strength Maties team for a 42-16 win.

This enabled them to pip Pukke by one point in the final standings, securing what could be a critical home semi-final.

While pleased to be playing on familiar territory, UJ coach Werner Janse van Rensburg is not taking anything for granted.

“It is great for us to be back at home and the home support is crucial, but in a semi-final in a tournament like this no matter where you play you have to be at your best to win.”

Earlier in the season, the teams faced off in Potchefstroom, with UJ winning 36-31, a margin which indicates what a tough challenge they will face to secure a berth in the final.

Janse van Rensburg said it was important for them to move on from their win over Maties to focus on the next challenge.

“Every week presents a new challenge and this competition has shown that what happened the previous Monday doesn’t mean anything the next Monday,” he said.

“We know they will come out with all guns blazing as they have a good record in semi-finals, so we expect our toughest challenge so far in the competition. But we will be up for it.”

Focusing on the basics and employing a positive approach would be the keys to success, the coach said.

“Playing each moment on the field one at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves will be important. The game rewards good attitude and being the best in the basics, and that is going to be crucial for us.”

Meanwhile, the Varsity Cup organisers have announced that the white card review system will be implemented for the two semi-finals.

The white card can be used by either coach or captain to review a decision by the referee. Each team is allowed one white card review per half.

The coach will inform the television match official (TMO) of the request for a review via radio.

The TMO will inform the referee of the challenge and the latter will then raise a white card at the next stoppage to indicate that a request for a review has been lodged.

The TMO will then review the incident and advise the on-field referee of the appropriate decision to be taken.

The UJ versus Pukke match will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1.

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Issued by: Coetzee Gouws
On behalf of:University of Johannesburg Sport