FNB UCT coach John Dobson is not shouting from the roof-tops yet, but he admitted to being “pleased” with his team’s 39-21 Varsity Cup win over the Tshwane University of Technology on Monday evening.
The Capetonians scored five tries to three as they notched up their first win in the 2009 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International, bouncing from last week’s 10-12 loss to the Maties at home.
“I will take five points from any game we play this season, I’m very pleased with that,” Dobson told varsitycup.co.za. “However, I know we can still play better and we’ll be working hard on the training ground this week ahead of next Monday’s clash against UJ.”
The major shining light for Dobson was a much-improved set-piece, with the Ikey scrum getting the upperhand and the lineout being much more efficient than it was against Maties.
“We knew that we were light on work on our water and lights (scrums and lineouts), but we have worked hard on them in the past fortnight and am confident in them going forward,” said the Ikey Tigers coach.
Dobson, however, was also happy with his two new backline recruits, fullback Therlow Pietersen and elusive centre Tiger Bax – both of whom are former Stellenbosch students.
“Therlow and Tiger gave us a nice attacking thrust,” admitted Dobson. “We’ve lost a few of our best ‘strikers’ in Mat Turner, Tim Whitehead, Rob Hopwood and Marcello Sampson, so we needed to replace them and Tiger and Therlow have fitted in very well.
“I think Tiger’s future, and possibly Therlow’s too, is at ten, but we have Matthew Rosslee who is well established at flyhalf and created some nice space for Tiger last week. Tiger is talented enough to play anywhere from 10-15, but we will look at him a bit at ten too.”
Looking ahead to next Monday’s game against the University of Johannesburg, Dobson would not be drawn into potential changes to his starting line-up, but he was hopeful of Pietersen being fit, having limped off with cramp against TUT – a situation which saw the visitors play with 14 men for the last quarter of the match.
“It (being a man down) wasn’t ideal, but I guess it was one way to test our resolve on defence,” joked Dobson. “Therlow wasn’t feeling comfortable, so we took him off, but we had no more reserves, which is why we had to struggle along with just 14 men. Lesson learnt… that’s for sure!
“We still have guys like Mike Ledwidge (back) and Tim Whitehead (groin) who are definitely out injured, but aside from losing Stu (Commins) against the Maties, there are no serious injuries from the TUT game.”
UJ, however, will produce a different test for the exciting Ikeys unit, with Dobson admitting: “They’re one of the teams to watch this season… no doubt… They spent a bit of money during the off-season and have a new, experienced coach like Hugo van As back in the mix.
“Walter Venter has played Currie Cup and Super 14 rugby, so he’s an obvious name to look out for, but like I always say, it’s not about who you’re playing against, it’s all about your own performance. The rest will take care of itself.”
The Ikeys-UJ match, which kicks-off at 4.45pm, will be played at UCT’s Groote Schuur fields on Monday, February 16. The match will be televised live on SuperSport 1 and CSN.