The Ikey Tigers left for George on
Wednesday with one simple aim ahead of the FNB Varsity Cup’s Easter Festival – to
continue playing the brand of rugby that sees them top the log after four
rounds of action.
UCT go into the Easter Festival in first
place with 16 points, followed by the Maties and NWU-Pukke, both of whom have
13 points from four games.
As the top try-scorers in the tournament
with 23 tries, UCT have been impressive thus far – but the Capetonians know how
important it is to maintain that same form in George, where all eight teams
will play their final three league matches in the space of just five days.
“We’re going to George to continue playing
the same brand of rugby that has served us so well in the Varsity Cup,” said
UCT backline coach Robbie Fleck. “UCT always plays attractive rugby – we want
to win our matches in George and also win over the crowd in the process.”
But standing in UCT’s way on Thursday is
none other than local traditional rivals, Stellenbosch, a large enough hurdle
at the best of times – never mind the fact that the heat is well and truly on in
the race for semi-final places.
A bonus point win over the second-placed Maties
would all but secure a home semi-final for the Ikeys, who also have to play
against NMMU (eighth place) and Shimlas (seventh place) on Saturday and Monday,
“In the past, UCT sides would perhaps have
been happy with a close loss to Stellenbosch – not this side, they truly
believe they can claim their fourth win of the tournament and make that home
semi-final a reality,” enthused Fleck.
When questioned about the tight playing
schedule over the Easter Weekend, Fleck continued: “Win or lose on Thursday, we
need to re-group for Saturday’s game against NMMU.
“Sure, losing is never great, but these
young guys are good enough to bounce back from anything. They’re a hungry bunch
of players, who are constantly looking to better themselves and they will be
happy only when they end top of the table and actually go on and win this
The Ikey Tigers will once again be
captained by No.8 JJ Gagiano. Fullback-cum-wing Mathew Turner (the tournament’s
top try-scorer at present) and flyhalf Matt Rosslee (second on the overall
points-scoring table) will also be in action in George.
Thursday, March 20:
UCT v Maties
14.55 Supersport 1
Saturday, March 22:
NMMU v UCT
Monday, March 24:
UCT v Kovies
15.55 Supersport 1
Also look out for a report on e-tv to be aired on e-news primetime, either Wednesday 19th from 7pm or Thursday 20th from 7pm. It includes training footage, as well as an interview with Robbie Fleck and captain JJ Gagiano.