FNB UCT head coach John Dobson admitted to being disappointed by his team’s 16-16 draw with archrivals Stellenbosch in an annual Intervarsity fixture at Newlands on Saturday.
In a high-quality, high-paced and intense game, the Ikeys squandered an eight-point lead, having dominated possession and territory for most of the match. In the end, however, they did well to weather a fierce Matie onslaught in the last 15 minutes.
“I think we played poorly – we made far too many handling errors and then slipped too many tackles in those last 15 minutes,” Dobson told varsitycup.co.za on Monday morning.
“If you make those sorts of mistakes against a team like Stellenbosch you are not going to win. You have to take your chances and not do things like lose the ball over the line (like we did),” he added.
“I’m sure that the Maties would also be disappointed with their performance, but I suppose it was a high-level game in most respects. For me, it’s just frustrating that in our last two big games, against Pukke and now Maties, we have squandered what looked like winning positions.”
It is remarkable just how thrilling and close all games are between these two great teams, the Maties and the Ikeys.
Since the start of the 2008 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International they have played six games, with each match being decided in the last minute or so.
“I am, in a sense, pleased that our players were not at all happy with a draw against Maties,” revealed Dobson, “it shows the standards that they have set themselves.
“It’s a nice group of players and we’re having fun, which ultimately is what we should be doing, and are looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Dobson can certainly be pleased with the job that he has done at UCT, given that they boast arguably the smallest budget and facilities of any of the competing universities in the Varsity Cup.
They have several success stories in terms of international selection (Kyle Brown, Mat Turner and JJ Gagiano) and they also produced two Super 14 players in Martin Muller and Tiger Bax this year.
Of course, the latest achievement is the elevation of UCT backline coach (and Dobson’s assistant coach) Robbie Fleck to the WP Currie Cup coaching team.
“Fleckie and I have been chatting about it for a long time and it is great for him and the club,” said Dobson.
“That is what we want – people to grow and contribute. It’s good for me too as I won’t have to put up with his neurotic ravings so much anymore! But, seriously, I think the vision shown by WP and Matt Proudfoot (the former Pukke coach) in getting him involved is brilliant.”
UCT’s next WP Super League match is against Kraaifontein at the Green Mile this coming Saturday. Kick-off is at 4pm.