Groom returns for Ikey Tigers

SA and WP U20 scrummy Ricky Schroeder backs up Groom

Nic Groom, who picked up the Man of the Match Award on his Stormers debut, will start in the No.9 jersey for the Ikey Tigers in Monday’s Monte Taljaard Trophy match on the Green Mile.

Groom has been released from Western Province ahead of Monday’s clash and he will make his second start of the 2011 Varsity Cup.

Having been forced to blood two new No.9s against NWU-Pukke this past week, FNB UCT head coach Kevin Foote is now in the enviable position of being able to call on Groom as his starting scrumhalf with SA Under-20 star Ricky Schroeder (pictured) on the bench.

Foote, as one would expect, has not tampered too much with his winning side – UCT having beaten Pukke 36-8 in Potchefstroom in Round Two – but his hand has been forced in certain positions.

Tiger Bax – a try-scorer in Potch – is unavailable this week, forcing Therlow Pietersen to take over at outside centre and Ricky Rijs – who made his Varsity Cup debut on Monday – filling in at fullback. Fit-again backline veteran Pete Haw returns at No.14.

The entire UCT pack is the same, but lock-cum-flank Don Armand is back in the selection mix – on the bench – after taking a blow to his head in Round One.

Armand had always targeted the Monte Taljaard encounter as his comeback match – given his close ties to Taljaard – and he will be joined on the bench by two more new UCT faces this season, centre Nick Holton and prop Pete Olivier.

The FNB UCT team: 15 Ricky Rijs, 14 Pete Haw, 13 Therlow Pietersen, 12 Adrian Kritzinger, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Greg Mallett, 7 Nick Fenton-Wells (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Matt Page, 1 Wes Chetty.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Don Armand, 19 Zandy Macdonald, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Nick Holton, 22 Sabelo Siyakatshana, 23 Pete Olivier.

Head coach: Kevin Foote

Date: Monday, February 21
Venue: Groote Schuur, Cape Town
Kick-off: 7pm
Referee: Rasta Rashivenga

* Monte Taljaard, for those not in the know, was a talented UCT flanker – who, sadly, passed away in a car accident in September 2008.

Having attended Grey PE – and also playing Varsity Cup rugby for the Ikeys against NMMU in 2008 – the University of Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University use this fixture to honour the man.

Monte Taljaard tributes:

“He was a leader like I have never come across, a giant amongst men and he was in so many ways our (UCT’s) future as a player and a leader.”
– John Dobson, former UCT head coach

“Monts was a true legend – as a person and a rugby player. We all loved him dearly at UCT.”
– Robbie Fleck, Stormers backline coach

“It’s a big honour for us to be involved in this match and it’s also a great way to honour a young man like Monte.”
– Kolie Brandt, NMMU Rugby Manager

Previous UCT v NMMU Varsity Cup results:
2008: UCT 36 NMMU 7 (George)
2009: NMMU 17 UCT 36 (Port Elizabeth)
2010: NMMU 9 UCT 65 (Port Elizabeth)

If you would like to find out more about the Monte Taljaard Bursary, click HERE.

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