Going set to be tough against unbeaten Maroon Machine in Port Elizabeth tonight
The resolve of the struggling Madibaz will be tested like never before when they collide with a rampant Maties outfit in the Varsity Cup tonight.
Everything suggests that the high-flying “Maroon Machine” will maintain their unbeaten run in Port Elizabeth against a Madibaz side who have lost five games on the spin.
It has been a frustrating season for the Madibaz, who came agonisingly close to grabbing wins in their opening games against Ikeys, CUT Ixias and Pukke.
But they were unable to get over the line, and this has left the Port Elizabeth side facing a relegation battle at the wrong end of the table.
The Madibaz slumped to their fifth loss when they crashed to a heavy 69-8 defeat against the University of Johannesburg in their last outing.
Whether there is scarring after that drubbing, will be put to the test by the “Maroon Machine” who will expose any chinks in the PE team’s armour.
The pressure is steadily increasing on Madibaz head coach David Maidza and his team as they look to end their frustrating drought and move away from the foot of the league table.
Despite the losing start, Maidza has kept faith in his team and will urge them to stick to their structures and not to panic tonight when they face the log leaders.
With three games left, the Madibaz will have to fight for every point on offer if they want to avoid relegation.
“We are an Eastern Cape team and we’ll always have to scrap and fight for every single bone out there,” Maidza said.
The Madibaz shipped nine tries against UJ and their suspect defence will be tested again by the Maties, who have already scored 249 points in six outings.
Maties maintained their unbeaten record last week with a decisive 33-14 win over Ikeys in Stellenbosch.
So far the Maties have had a dream season, barring a draw to Wits in round five .
The “Maroon Machine” have not a lost a game and have recorded some notable wins, including a 31-3 victory over UJ, a 56-21 win over Shimlas and a massive 75-12 triumph over CUT.
The men from Stellenbosch have meticulously dismantled their opponents, either through their resolute forward pack or through their electric set of backs.
The defeat against UJ has left the Madibaz hovering at the foot of the log just one point above fellow strugglers Tuks, who are also winless.
After the clash against Maties, the Madibaz will complete their programme with away matches against Shimlas (March 9) and Tuks (March 26).
The game against Tuks will be a crunch game because both sides are battling to avoid relegation to the lower Varsity Shield tournament next year.
Like the Madibaz, Tuks are also winless and will be desperate to salvage some pride in their final home game of the season.
Every second year the team that finishes last in the Varsity Cup competition will automatically be relegated to the Varsity Shield while the team that finishes first in the Varsity Shield gains automatic promotion to the Varsity Cup.
The Varsity Cup team finishing second from the bottom will play a promotion/relegation match against the Varsity Shield team that finishes second from the top.