The start of the league campaign was rather disrupted as the extended Varsity Cup program coincided with the first few varsity league games. That being said, it was also a great opportunity for the fringe players (many of which are now the Babrows), as well as any VC players not selected to get some game time.
The U20 Cubs were the proud winners of the Butterworth Cup, the award that goes to the best team at UCT each year. The FNB Ikey Tigers u20 squad has enjoyed an incredible season by not only winning their domestic league, but also going unbeaten in all of their matches making them well deserved winners of this title.
The FNB Ikey Tigers u20 squad has enjoyed an incredible season by not only winning their domestic league, but also going unbeaten in all of their matches. Earning the right to be called invincibles
Although the FNB Ikey Tigers failed to hang on to their halftime lead against Maties, ultimately going down 32-20 to their rivals, much hope can be taken from the fact that the Ikeys Young Guns came back from behind to beat Maties’ u20 side.
Speaking to Young Guns coach Tom Dawson-Squib, it’s easy to see why UCT’s future rugby stars are on the right path. “We’ve got a different side from the Varsity Cup side now, because a few guys have gone up to the first team,” he said, “But this team is so enthusiastic. They’ve won all their games up until now.”
Despite the result, the games proceedings were not smooth at all. The teams played for only fifty-two minutes due to the referees being late, and the field had no shortage of wind.
“They scored first: they scored a try and a penalty so we were 10-0 down. We managed to score before halftime though so we went into the break knowing that we had a good chance because we were only trailing by five points and the wind would be in our favour,” coach Dawson-Squib said.
“When your home is the Green Mile and you know the wind, it always gives you a chance. We scored a try in the last seven minutes, but our second half performance was mainly tackling and kicking the ball up field. Maties really performed in the second half; they played some nice rughby,” he went on to explain.
“We had a big build up to this game and the boys responded well. They put in the defensive work and tackled really well in the second half.”
Speaking on the future of the club, the fans and their support, coach Dawson-Squib had this to say: “We hope that our players will play for the senior team one day, so it’s in our hands. But it would be great for people to support the next batch, so come down and watch us. Hopefully you’ll see something that will brighten up your Saturday.”
Despite the disappointing season the FNB Ikey Tigers have endured thus far, the future of UCT rugby still remains bright. “We knew it’d be tough coming up against teams with provincial players in them, but it’s been absolute privilege captaining this team. They’re more than just my team mates, we’re really good mates off of the field as well,” said Michael Henning, who captained the Ikey Young Guns this season.
“We’ve had a lot of good, young players coming in. I feel like our team has set a good standard for the future this season, and although our first team hasn’t done too well, we’ve tried our best to provide a positive outlook for UCT rugby.”
The Ikey Young Guns have had a fairly successful season, emphatically beating the CUT Young Guns and drawing with the Pukke Young Guns. Their other two results were the narrowest of losses, but Henning remains confident that they achieved what they set out to do. “We wanted to stay true to the UCT way. We wanted to play good rugby, and be good people on and off the field,” said Henning.
The rugby system in place at UCT allows the u20s to train alongside the first team players, giving them an early taste of what the future holds. “When we train in the off-season, we all train together and it’s great because we can get used to that standard of rugby. UCT likes to keep young players playing rugby even after their time with the Young Guns, so this is a very good platform to start out on,” said Henning.
“There were six players from the u20s who were included in the first team squad, so that proves that this younger group has the potential to perform well in the coming seasons,” the captain added.
Coach Tom Dawson-Squib took to social media to express his gratitude concerning his first season as coach as the Ikey Young Guns. He went on to say: “Never concentrate on the paint in your house until you have solid foundations built – basics are everything”. And that is exactly what the Ikey Young Guns have been doing: Building a foundation upon which, as coach Dawson-Squib puts it, future greats can carry the banner of UCT rugby for many more years to come.
By Wessley Thring.