FNB UCT head coach John Dobson (pictured above with Jake White during pre-season) was full of praise for his side after their 32-12 Varsity Cup win over the University of Johannesburg – with the Ikeys boss pointing to the trying conditions at Groote Schuur on Monday afternoon as the main reason for his happiness.
The notorious Cape winds almost wrecked havoc with the UCT-UJ clash, but Dobson’s charges held firm, scoring three first-half tries and one try in the second period to come away with five valuable log points.
The home side – beaten finalists last year – played with the wind in the first half and they did enough in the first half to go into the break 24-5 up; effectively shutting out their big-name visitors, who launched a spirited comeback in the second half.
The Ikey Tigers, who have now won two matches in succession, are currently in third position on the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International log, trailing the second-placed Maties by just one point.
“We were happy with our second-half performance, but, as UJ – who are a good side – found out, it is harder to play with the wind than into it,” Dobson told varsitycup.co.za.
“The wind was a massive, massive factor in the game and was always going to determine the outcome. I was worried at 24-12 into the wind, but then we probably produced our most comprehensive 30 minutes of rugby so far to close them out.”
The UCT side’s determination aside, Dobson added: “I was pleased the way our pack took it to them and the way that we got the ball through some hands and off-loads into the wind. I think to win the second half (8-7) into that gale was a great achievement.
“(But) as pleased as I was, it was refreshing to hear the team say afterwards that they were not satisfied yet, which means there is more to come… and (which) augurs well for us as a side.”
UCT will travel to Pretoria next Monday to face the table-topping Tukkies side in their own backyard. Tukkies, along with Maties, are the only unbeaten side in the 2009 Varsity Cup and they beat TUT 45-9 last night to cement their place at the top of the tournament standings.
“It is a big game,” admitted Dobson. “But like I said, the guys know there is still plenty of work to be done – plus there is plenty riding on the result of the Tukkies match. We have four away matches this season and we need to win one of those to ensure we’re in with a shout come the semifinals.”
The Tukkies-UCT match kicks-off at 6.45pm at the LC de Villiers Stadium on Monday, February 23. The match will not be televised.