Yes, a win is a win and FNB UCT have four points to show for their 80 minutes against FNB Shimlas on Monday evening, but Ikey Tigers head coach John Dobson was not a happy man on Tuesday morning.
The Ikeys remained in second place on the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International log, but they are by no means assured of hosting a semifinal on Monday, March 23.
The Capetonians now have to go to Potchefstroom next week and come away with a bonus point or prevent Pukke from winning by four tries or more to confirm a second successive semifinal against the selfsame side from North West at UCT’s Green Mile.
“I was disappointed with the drivel that we served up last night,” a forthright Dobson told varsitycup.co.za. “We failed to keep to our structures and simply threw too much ball away on the night.”
UCT had their fair share of opportunities in the first half, but that crucial last pass failed to go to hand – time and time again – and in one instance wing Marcello Sampson dropped the ball when over the line.
In fact, all they had to show from the first 40 minutes were two Matt Rosslee penalties – versus one converted Shimlas try – with all three UCT tries on the night coming in the second half.
“Although we were playing into the wind (in the first half), we had 69% percent possession,” Dobson pointed out, “it was disappointing to have only two penalties to show for it.
“Then, having got 11 points clear in the second half, we totally fell apart when – for the second week in a row – we had to play without a lock.
“That ill-discipline cost us as we struggled at scrum-time and it was all-Shimlas at that stage.”
He continued: “We should never have put ourselves in that position in the first half against a good Shimlas team that was desperate to win to stay in the tournament.
“I feel particularly bad for our fans that, for the majority of the second half and even when we had all the ball and play in the first half, we served up that rubbish.
“There is still plenty to play for next week (against Pukke) and the guys know what they need to do in order to secure that home semifinal.”
It does seem almost unbelievable that UCT and Pukke are once again shaping up to clash in the semifinals of the Varsity Cup – given the thriller at UCT last season, but not even that possibility could cheer Dobson up.
“We need to make sure we book that home semi,” said Dobson, “and that’s all down to our final league match against Pukke in Potch.
“We have had some good battles with them in the Varsity Cup. They’re a good side and, of course, are a different proposition at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds with a horde of screaming Pukke students!”
Looking ahead to this week, Dobson concluded: “There’s plenty for us to work on at training, believe me.
“Yesterday was not acceptable as it was a game that should have been wrapped up with 30 minutes to go. Even letting them in for that consolation try in the last move was disappointing.
“But at the same time, Fleckie (Robbie Fleck) and I are not going to suddenly start panicking. It was the simple things and basic disciplines that saw us play so poorly against Shimlas and the players have been made well aware of what we expect from them – at training and at game time.”