The FNB Ikey Tigers still have a slight mathematical chance of qualifying for the 2012 Varsity Cup semifinals but that is the last thing on coach Kevin Foote’s mind at the moment
The defending champions suffered a heartbreaking 29-29 draw against the FNB NWU-Pukke this past Monday (as they conceded two late converted tries), all but ending their semifinal hopes in the process.
As things stand now, UCT are in sixth place on the Varsity Cup log, with just one win in five matches.
They have nine log points; trailing the FNB Madibaz (on ten points), the NWU-Pukke (14 points), FNB UP-Tuks and FNB UJ (both on 20 points) and, of course, the unbeaten FNB Maties (on 22 points).
However, as Foote points out there is still hope – even ahead of their televised Round Six clash against the top-of-the-log Maties at the Danie Craven Stadium.
“Unfortunately it’s down to other teams losing… even if we win our remaining matches,” he admitted.
“However,” he added, “we can still control two things – and that’s our next two matches – starting (next week) against the Maties.”
UCT have not beaten the Maties in the Varsity Cup since the 2008 season, but matches have been relatively close; the Men in Maroon leading in aggregate by 139-105 over UCT in six encounters – an average winning margin of five points per match for Stellenbosch.
Said Foote: “Look our results haven’t been good this year, it doesn’t take a genius to work it out, but I really don’t think we’re playing that badly – it’s just a few things letting us down at the moment.
“The guys are also trying out there – I can’t fault their commitment – but I certainly won’t have to motivate them much for a sold-out match at the Danie Craven Stadium… do I?”
Foote also pointed to last year’s two league victories over the Maties – both home and away – as they won a first WP Super League encounter since 1974, winning a stunning 13 matches in succession to achieve that historic feat.
“Our situation now is probably a bit tougher to what it was in the league,” said Foote, “especially with form teams like the Maties and Tuks in wait and us needing other teams to lose.
“But we will head to Stellenbosch on Monday with 23 hungry players and I cannot ask for more at this stage,” he added.
“Winning is our priority – no matter what is at stake; a seemingly unlikely (for some) semifinal place or simply avoiding a promotion/relegation match.”
Previous UCT-Maties Varsity Cup results:
(Home team first)
UCT 38 Maties 34 (Played in George)
Maties 16 UCT 10 (Final)
UCT 10 Maties 12
Maties 23 UCT 17
Maties 17 UCT 14 (Final)
UCT 16 Maties 37
with thanks to varsitycup.co.za