Utility back Tiger Bax has been included in the FNB UCT starting XV for tonight’s Varsity Cup clash against FNB Shimlas, after not being required by the Stormers at the weekend.
Twenty-year-old Bax was on standby for the Stormers ahead of Saturday’s Super 14 clash against the Bulls, but Springbok Schalk Burger was passed fit – and played off the bench – which is why Bax was not required.
Bax will therefore slot in at outside centre tonight, where he has impressed for the second-placed Ikeys this season, with Pieter Engelbrecht moving in one spot to inside centre and fellow powerhouse Sean van Tonder dropping to the bench.
The unlucky man to miss out altogether in this FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International fixture is utility back Michael Nel – who after starting at flyhalf against NMMU last Monday – was set to warm the bench with the return of regular No.10 Matt Rosslee.
“Mike (Nel) is very unlucky to miss out at this late juncture,” said UCT head coach John Dobson, “but we’re happy to have Tiger back and hopefully he can remain with us in the run-in to the play-offs and the play-offs themselves – if we qualify.”
The Ikeys are well-placed to make the play-offs for the second season in a row and a win over Shimlas this evening will put them one step closer to a home semifinal once again.
“It’s great being back at home in front of our fantastic supporters and we’d love nothing more than a full-house of five points, which would give us some breathing space before the final round of league action next week,” said Dobson to varsitycup.co.za.
“(But) Shimlas will be on a high after their big win over Tukkies last week,” he cautioned.
“We certainly won’t take anything for granted tonight, but we know how important a win will be for us in this, the business-end, of the Varsity Cup.”
FNB UCT (updated): 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Dane Johnson, 13 Tiger Bax, 12 Pieter Engelbrecht, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Stuart Commins, 8 JJ Gagiano (captain), 7 Enoch Panya, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Donovan Armand, 4 Michael Passaportis, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Dylan Rogers.
Replacements: 16 Mark Goosen, 17 Ashley Wells, 18 Dane Galley, 19 Kuselo Moyake, 20 JP Robert, 21 Peter Haw, 22 Sean van Tonder.
Head coach: John Dobson
Assistant coach: Robbie Fleck
Kick-off: Monday, March 9, 6.45pm, Groote Schuur