Launch of the Ikey Tigers Supporters Club

MEDIA RELEASE

20.01.2016

Launch of the Ikey Tigers Supporters Club

The Ikey Tigers (UCT RFC) and the Ikey Tigers Foundation are excited to announce the launch of a new initiative (and organising committee) dedicated to building an newly energised Ikey Tigers supporters community – the Ikey Tigers Supporters Club. Whether a past player; current UCT student or staff member; current or past parent; or simply a passionate fan of Ikey Tigers; the Ikey Tigers Supporters Club has been established to serve and energise Ikey Tigers’ supporters.

 

UCT Rugby Football Club, founded in 1882, is one of the oldest rugby clubs in the world and has a captivating rugby history. Its tradition of playing running rugby makes it one of the most exciting teams to watch in international club rugby. Thousands of UCT students and rugby players have enjoyed and been privileged to play for the club over the years. The Supporters Club seeks to ensure that there is a strong community where past players and others can stay connected with the Club long after their playing days are over.

 

Over the past twenty years, professionalism in rugby has changed the rugby landscape and the Ikey Tigers have needed to adjust with the times. Holding onto the positives of its amateur spirit has been a differentiating factor for the Ikeys, especially when compared to any other university rugby clubs on the world scene. Winning the inaugural World University Rugby Cup in Oxford, UK in September last year was a fantastic height for the Club to reach.

 

One of the reasons that the Club has done so well in recent years is because a core group of volunteers and Trustees have stepped up to the plate to ensure that the Club was managed well and adjusted to the professional era. These are a special group of people whose blood is properly blue and white. Club chairman, Greg Fury (the leader of the show), pays testament to these efforts in his ‘2015 Christmas Message’, where he asks the poignant question of: “could you imagine UCT without a rugby club?”.   

 

The Ikey Tigers Supporters Club has been established under the auspices of the Ikey Foundation Trust, with a mandate to serve and energise the Ikey Tigers supporter base. The inaugural committee members have committed to at least two years of service to set the Supporters Club in motion. Ably led by Ikey legend, John Le Roux, other members include Terry Wallace, Khaya Sontsele, Lisa Gagiano, Bodo Sieber, Daniel Palm, Tank Lanning, Howard Kahn, Kevin Forte, Gavin Fernie and Chris Campbell.

 

It is early days for the Ikey Tigers Supporters Club, but it builds on past work done by Foundation members and benefits from a broad base of support. In 2016 the committee intends on making sure regular, interesting communication reaches the community; the Varsity Cup spectator experience reaches new heights; a members’ offering is launched; fantastic events are held in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London; and that the Ikey Tigers community cheers their team on throughout the year!

Help us start 2016 on a high by joining us next Monday (8 Feb) on the Green Mile to watch our beloved two time champions, the FNB Ikey Tigers, take on returning champions, the FNB Shimlas. In celebration of its official launch, the Ikey Tigers Supporters Club is inviting all Ikey Old Boy’s to a free VIP match experience. For more information and to collect your free tickets, please click here.

Ikeys supporters – 2016 Varsity Cup

Ikey Tigers’ 2016 Varsity Cup Campaign gets underway on Monday 8th February against 2015’s champions, UFS Shimlas! The team has been preparing hard and we can’t wait to see our beloved blue and white running rugby back on the Green Mile.

All Ikey Tigers supporters are warmly invited to join us on the Green Mile for the opening match of Varsity Cup 2016. 

Tank Lanning (‘90-‘95) and others have been dreaming up how our Ikey Tigers’ supporter experience can keep improving (installing The Ikey pub in 2015 was a pretty neat upgrade!) For starters we will have a demarcated and branded section in the stand next to the highway with its own security. Entry will be free (upon RSVP) and cold beers and droëwors will be on hand. Space is limited so please get your RSVP through to Kevin Forte (kevin.forte@ikeytigers.com). 

Join us for the first match of the Ikey Tigers 2016 season!

What: Varsity Cup Opening Game: Ikeys vs Shimlas

Where: The Green Mile

When: 08 February 2016

When: 18h00 for a 19h00 kick off 

 

Ikey Tigers 2016 Varsity Cup Match Schedule:

 

Round Robin

HOME (19:00) 8 February – Ikeys v Shimlas [Televised]

AWAY (18:30) 15 February – CUT v Ikeys 

HOME (18:30) 22 February – Ikeys v NWU-Pukke

HOME (16:45) 29 February – Ikeys v UP-Tuks [Televised]

AWAY (18:30) 7 March – UJ v Ikeys

AWAY (19:00) 14 March – Maties v Ikeys [Televised]

AWAY (16:45) 21 March – Madibaz v Ikeys [Televised]

Knock out

(16:45) 28 March – Semi-Final 1 [Televised]

(19:00) 28 March – Semi-Final 2 [Televised]

(19:00) 11 April – Final [Televised]

For the expanded Match Schedule including the Young Guns and Koshuis competitions click here.

Secure your seat in the Ikey Tigers’ supporters stand today – RSVP via email to Kevin Forte (kevin.forte@ikeytigers.com).

 

More news from the organisers of the Varsity Cup: 2016 rule changes and more  

The FNB Varsity Cup is in its ninth year after a highly successful inaugural competition in 2008. It is already a highlight on the rugby-mad South African’s sporting calendar. This inter-university rugby competition sees eight of the country’s top universities go head-to-head to take home the title (and a substantial cash reward). In a rugby nation impassioned about witnessing an exciting brand of attacking rugby, Varsity Cup has been at the forefront of driving just that. 

Also serving as a starting block for young players to launch their professional rugby careers, a glance to the highest level in world rugby will provide assurance that this success has been certified in Green and Gold. At this year’s 2015 Rugby World Cup 23% of the Springbok squad had emerged through the Varsity Cup competition. 

The competition strives to constantly improve the game, enabling it to be more attractive to the general public, and 2016 will be no different. By cleaning up areas that can be frustrating to both players and spectators, Varsity Cup aims to create a more enjoyable game for players and more entertaining experience for supporters. 

Varsity Cup strives to maintain the strengths of SA Rugby, such as scrums and mauls – areas in which they are world-renowned for their ability. Which is why they work in conjunction with SARU, who give their full support in the two exciting rule changes to the scrums and mauls in 2016. 

“We’re in a very privileged position where we can experiment with various laws or law applications in a high quality, ultra-competitive competition like the Varsity Cup,” said Rassie Erasmus, General Manager of SARU’s Rugby Department.

“The scrums and mauls have been topics of debate in recent years and we are excited to be at the forefront when it comes to experimental changes and applications to these areas of the game thanks to the Varsity Cup and their organisers.  It gives us a great insight into how players, and more importantly referees adapt in pressure situations.

“Thanks to the high profile and quality of the Varsity Cup, we also know that the world’s eyes will be fixed on the outcomes of these trials which is something of which we can be very proud.”

Rule changes

In a slight change to the maul, the essence of the maul will remain the same, however there will be adjustments to the law to ensure that should the maul go static, move sideways, or in any direction other than forwards, the referee will issue a call for the maul to move forwards. 

The team in possession will then have five seconds to move the maul forwards from that position. Should they fail to do so, the referee will allow the team in possession three seconds to use the ball, which the referee will indicate by counting out “one, two, three”. Failure by the team in possession to end the maul will result in the referee awarding a turnover to the team not in possession of the ball.

This change is meant to provide consistency and clarity around the maul and to aid referees in enforcing the law.  Another major focus will be to reduce the number of reset scrums and to ensure the safety of players in the scrums. Fans can expect to hear a slightly different call from the referee in 2016, as the scrum sequence will now be: crouch, bind, slide. Following the initial crouch, props will bind onto each other, without being allowed to bind onto any armpit or below the middle of the rib area. Once the props have a solid grip, the referee will decide that their bind positions have been established and they will not be allowed to change or adjust those. Props will also have to line up ear to ear and not be allowed to line up head to head. Finally, the slide call will replace set, which will ensure that there will be no impact between the front rows. Once the referee has decided that the scrum is stable, he will instruct the scrumhalf to feed the ball into the scrum as per the current law.

Varsity Cup CEO, Duitser Bosman, believes that these two changes have been implemented in an attempt to build upon an already strong area of the game, while providing continuity during matches."By having less scrums falling with more effective mauling, Varsity Cup will add a lot to the spectacle of rugby without taking away a two dominant aspects of South African Rugby,” says Bosman. “We believe the spectators will enjoy this." 

In addition to the rule changes, spectators can expect the White Card review system, which was reintroduced in 2015, to be dropped until the semi-final and final of the competition. All the other aspects of Varsity Cup that make the competition unique will return in 2016 – the most important of those undeniably the fanatical supporters. 

Kilroe features in Varsity Match

The 134th Varsity match between Oxford and Cambridge took place on Thursday 10th December at Twickenham. The event began in 1872, which was the year after the very first international rugby match was played. Since 1921 the game has been played at Twickenham. Oxford University RFC who have dominated the event recently have 59 wins, and Cambridge University R.U.F.C. maintain the lead with 61; 14 games have ended in draws.

 

 

 

Huge congrats to @james_kilroe after today's varsity fixture #OnceAnIkey

A photo posted by Ikey Tigers RFC (@ikeytigers) on

 

 

 

Cambridge University narrowly suffered a sixth straight defeat to Oxford in a desperately cagey and attritional Varsity match 12 -6 which could have gone either way right up to the final whistle. See the full match report below.  Former Ikey under 20 player and Australian lock Dan Vickerman was the last man to captain the Light Blues to victory in 2009.

Former FNB Ikey Tigers lock and Varsity Cup winner James Kilroe featured for Cambridge, as did Welsh star centre Jamie Roberts, the side being captained by ex Matie Don Stevens. The uncompromising forward who studies an MPhil in Technology Policy at the Judge Business School, as a member of Robinson College and has played a few games for the light blues since his arrival, was in great form, scoring two tries in the match leading up to the Varsity Match.

Kilroe says "I have been at Cambridge, in the beginning of the Michaelmas term this year, which is the beginning of October, so I arrived straight after the Oxford / World University Rugby Cup tour."

"My best game for Cambridge so far would have to be against the Steele-Bodgers XV. It is an invitational team, which is selected by Micky Steele-Bodger  (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micky_Steele-Bodger) It was a wonderful occasion and about 5000 people came to watch, it was a close game and we managed to win 36-33. The dinner afterwards was particularly fun!" explains the former Ikey.

There have been a number of former Ikeys who have represented both varsities in recent years which have helped Kilroe settle in the new environment.  "Zandy MacDonald was the last Ikey player to go to Oxford and I did talk to him prior to applying. I think James Richards was the last Cambridge Ikey player and we played together in the World University Barbarians match in Sydney in 2013. One of the Cambridge guys I met there is playing with me in the Varsity Match now." 

A number of Ikeys have also captained one of the sides over the years Quentin de Bruyn, Nick Mallet, Chad Lion-Cachet,Dan Vickerman, Andrew Everett, Neil MacDonald and Dugald MacDonald.

 

Varsity Match 2015: Cambridge pay the ultimate penalty against Oxford

Gripping, tense and captivating to the bitter end, the 134th Varsity Match may not have been the thrilling try fest that many would enjoy but this year's renewal should go down as an epic.

It was like a game of strategic warfare where the pieces are moved ever so carefully in to place to exploit the opponents' weaknesses.

And yet, there were very few weaknesses to be exploited as Cambridge and Oxford Universities went toe to toe at Twickenham.

If you had wanted to see tries, then the prelude to the 134th renewal was the one to watch, as the Light Blues crushed their opposition 52-0 in the first women's match to be held at HQ.


But if you were at home with attritional, gritty, bodies-on-the-line fayre, then the men's game had it in abundance.

It was certainly not pretty, there were times when you could go long spells without even seeing the ball, but it felt like a throwback to what rugby used to be where the forwards fronted up in a friendly but physical nature.

They desperately fought to win their respective sides some possession, but with few opportunities to run the ball, it always felt like it would come down to the roulette of penalties and when you dice with that danger, you always run the risk of paying the ultimate cost.

And so it was to be that George Cullen kicked Oxford to a 12-6 triumph and a record-breaking sixth successive Varsity Match win, condemning Cambridge to the history books.

This defeat felt very different from the losses in 2013 and 2014 though – while the others on this run have long been cast into the distant memory – and you could not help but feel a degree of sympathy for the Light Blues.

A bloodied and bandaged Daniel Dass in the second half perfectly summed up everything Cambridge had given to the game, they really could not have put in any more.

Ian Nagle was a colossus in the line-out and his defence was superb, and the same could be said of so many of his team-mates.

Dave Spelman, Don Stevens and Fraser Gillies had joined Nagle in making last-ditch tackles to deny Oxford on their few line-breaks, while the James Kilroe and Dass partnership in the back row could probably command its own television show if it was picked up by a network.

Dass was the same tackling demon he has been all term, and there waiting for any Oxford leftovers that got through was Kilroe.

The work-rate of the pack was immense, but that is not to undermine the importance of Oxford's own tight eight.

Andrew Grant and Fergus Taylor in the Dark Blues' second row were matching Nagle and Rob Hall in the loose, but Cambridge had the significant upper hand at the line-out, with their defence particularly standing out.

And the two Oxford flankers, Nic Roberts-Huntley and Will Wilson were also getting through so much work, and therefore it was something of a surprise when Oxford winger Tom Stileman was named man of the match.

That is because it was not a game where the backs had any space, let alone any space to run into, and so the longer the game wore on, you felt that kickable penalties were coming into play, and that brought forward the sharp-shooting boot of fly-half Cullen.

He had traded kicks with Stevens in the first half as the sides remained deadlocked at 3-3.

Cambridge had been dealt a blow at the break when Jamie Roberts had to go off with a dead leg, but then Stevens booted them in 6-3 front after 59 minutes.

While in future years many of the players will no doubt enjoy telling their grandchildren about the time they played at Twickenham, Oxford full-back Matt Geiger may want to omit what happened to him in the 64th minute.

Oxford had been building up the pressure and created an overlap on Cambridge, but when the ball went wide to Geiger he fumbled and juggled the ball before dropping and knocking on when all he needed to do was ground it for a try.

That kept the game finely balanced before Cullen levelled matters eight minutes later.

It was another six minutes before Oxford edged back ahead through a third Cullen penalty.

And any hopes Cambridge had of winning the game, or at the very least getting a draw, disappeared four minutes later.

Simon Davies engaged in an aimless exchange of high kicks with Oxford and on his third go, he went flying high to get the ball when there was no realistic chance of reaching it and took Henry de Berker out in the air.

With that yellow card for Davies went Cambridge's chances of preventing being on the wrong side of history, and to add salt into the wound, Cullen kicked a fourth penalty for Oxford as they won what was the lowest scoring Varsity Match for 14 years.

Ikeys lock enters battle of the blues

Former FNB Ikey Tigers lock and Varsity Cup winner James Kilroe has been selected to respresent the light blue of Cambridge in their Varsity Match against rivals Oxford at Twickenham this Thursday. 

Cambridge is captained by former Matie Donald Stevens and features Welsh international center Jamie Roberts, just back from the RWC. 

There are 12 returning Blues in the matchday squad, yet only back row newcomer James Kilroe has experience victory against Oxford. Kilroe was part of the University of Cape Town side that won the World University Cup at Oxford, beating the Dark Blues on the way to a final triumph over Trinity College, Dublin.

Kilroe says "I have been Cambridge, in the beginning of the Michaelmas term this year, which is the beginning of October, so I arrived straight after the Oxford / World University Rugby Cup tour." 

The uncompromising forward studies an MPhil in Technology Policy at the Judge Business School, as a member of Robinson College and has played a few games for the ligh blues since his arrival. 

"My best game for Cambridge so far would have to be against the Steele-Bodgers XV. It is an invitational team, which is selected by Micky Steele-Bodger  (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micky_Steele-Bodger) It was a wonderful occasion and about 5000 people came to watch, it was a close game and we managed to win 36-33. The dinner afterwards was particularly fun!" explains the former Ikey. 

The Varsity Match at Twickenham will be a different kettle of fish of course, but Kilroe is looking forward to the challenge. 
"The traditions that surrounds the varsity match are all very interesting. Each side has different traditions, for example, our captain, Don Stevens, cycled around last Sunday to each member of the squad to tell them whether they were in or not.  I am looking forward to all the other traditions that are happening this week and of course, the match itself! Cambridge hasn’t won in 5 years and we have to stop Oxford from winning 6 in a row, which would be the most consecutive wins in Varsity Match history." 

There have been a number of former Ikeys who have represented both varsities in recent years which have helped Kilroe settle in the new environment.  "Zandy MacDonald was the last Ikey player to go to Oxford and I did talk to him prior to applying. I think James Richards was the last Cambridge Ikey player and we played together in the World University Barbarians match in Sydney in 2013. One of the Cambridge guys I met there is playing with me in the Varsity Match now."

Cambridge University: Simon Davies (Latymer Upper School / Jesus); Ilia Cherezov* (Bedford School / St John's), Oliver Clough (Bedford School / St Edmund's), Jamie Roberts (Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf / Queens'), Andy Rees* (St Paul’ School / St Catharine's); Fraser Gillies* (Edinburgh Academy / Hughes Hall), Don Stevens* (Grey College, Bloemfontein / St Edmund's, captain); Will Briggs* (Bedford School / Magdalene), Max Montgomery* (Bangor GS / Emmanuel), Dave Spelman (Tonbridge School / Jesus), Rob Hall* (Ermysted’s Grammar School / Downing), Ian Nagle (Glenstall Abbey School, Limerick / Hughes Hall), James Kilroe (Diocesan College, Cape Town / Robinson), Daniel Dass* (Belfast Royal Academy / St Catharine's), Sam Farmer* (Bedford School / Wolfson)

 

From “Fatcakes to Fame” – Nick Fenton-Wells

It is rumoured that when he was a delinquent junior player, Nick Fenton-Wells was inclined to pack on the pounds, in the old vernacular.

Whatever brought about the transformation (perhaps his famous uncle gave him a tongue lashing?); Nick went from Fatcakes to Fame in a rugby jiffy.

Well, there was a lot of sweat and blood spilled before he came to be recognized as the latest in a long line of Ikey rugby captains to be elevated to that special status which men like Tom Hugo-Hamman, Basil Bey, Gus Enderstein and a few others attained. Outstanding players all, but first and foremost, Ikey captains who were exceptional leaders, motivators and characters. The players would hobble, bare foot on broken glass for these men, to keep the name of the greatest rugby club in the world resounding throughout the rugby world. This does not in any way impugn the reputation of other UCT rugby captains, but some were so famous as Springboks or W.P players that their captaincy was different, not less.

Nick was that sort of captain who by sheer will and example 'persuaded' his players to go the extra mile. Fatcakes has come a long way. He is a classic example of a UCT man who has gone from rugby player to a credit to his Alma Mater whatever path he treads in life.

Nick Fenton-Wells is currently playing as a Flanker for the Bedford Blues in the RFU Championship. After a very successful two-year loan period from Saracens, the sturdy number 8 was made a permanent feature of Goldington Road and announced as the new captain rewarding his contribution to the team.

With his leadership ability and professionalism, the South African born forward makes the perfect Blues skipper, having taken over from James Pritchard at the start of the 2014/15 season. Renowned for his speed, strength and physicality in both open play or at breakdown he was picked for Martin Haag’s Championship XV side against Canada, which showcases the talent available in the Championship. We caught up with Nick and got his thoughts on playing in the UK

How are you enjoying life in the United Kingdom? 

I am really enjoying it, I’ve started my last year of my MBA (part-time through Durham University Business School), I have a contract at Bedford Blues until the end of 2016/2017 and I am currently living with my girlfriend and a 6 month old Sprocker puppy (cross between a springer and cocker spaniel) in a beautiful town 25 minutes north of London.

What does a typical week and match day entail?

We train 3 days a week, from 2pm-7pm in the evening and this is generally Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, depending on the day of the fixture, occasionally it is a Friday night or Sunday fixture, which changes our training days. Sunday is an inidividual recovery day.

A typical training day starts with gym at 2pm, physio and analysis between 3pm-4.30pm, Units from 4.30-5pm, team meeting at 5pm, training from 5.30pm – 7pm (length of team session varies depending on day of the week too).

On my off days I am mostly studying, on the odd occasion playing golf and drinking a lot of coffee with friends. Typical house chores on a daily basis and walking Rocky every day for an hour

What has been the highlight of your time with The Bedford Blues so far?

In my first loan season to Bedford Blues, we made the final of the Championship and lost narrowly to Newcastle, but being awarded the honour of club captain has definitely been my own personal highlight to date

What advice would you give to anybody wanting to play rugby professionally in the United Kingdom?

It’s not always easy going to the top clubs to build your rugby career. The competition is fierce and if you miss your one opportunity, it can impact on your career significantly. Ensure that when that opportunity arises take it with both hands. Go to a club where you can enjoy longevity, a club that has your best interests at heart (not only rugby) and has a good club culture. A holistic rugby club does not only view you as an asset, but builds you for life after rugby too. Although I missed my opportunity at Saracens, they gave me the opportunity to build my career outside of rugby by pushing me to do my MBA. 

Bedford Blues build the individual and play rugby for the love of the game. It is not a job, but a passion. In the profesisonal era it has become too much about a job. Many great rugby players that I know lost the passion for the game when they turned professional. Some say that they were do not possess the strength of mind for it, but I disagree. These are men who have featured in heineken cup finals, played for top clubs in europe, but they are rugby romantics and many clubs and national sides don’t play rugby for the romance.

Do you follow the UCT Ikey Tigers and the Club?

Yes, I am subscribed to the Ikey Tigers database and I am in regular contact with John Le Roux (He’s taller than me and you) and Neil Macdonald and I went to watch the Ikeys play in the world universities competition hosted at Oxford, where I had a chance to catch up with former team mates, coaches, physios and my former mentors!

What do you miss most about UCT rugby?

At UCT, we played for the love of the game, for the love of each other and to become better people. Our goals were different, yes we wanted to win, but we wanted to win playing an attractive style of rugby that we all enjoyed. That is the great thing about Bedford Blues. They have a similar outlook to how we approach the game, albeit still slightly more structured.

And of course my mates. I miss my mates from all my years at UCT rugby. From 2006 until 2011 I made friends that will be great mates for life.