The University of Cape Town will get their 2010 Varsity Cup preparations underway when they take on the Stormers in a warm-up match in Riebeek West this Saturday (kick-off 10am).
The Ikeys are spending this week at Alan Zondagh’s highly-acclaimed RPC in Riebeek West, before facing up to the Stormers – as they have done for the past two seasons – on the weekend.
In the past, UCT played ‘situation rugby’ or games made up of smaller ‘chukkas’ against the Stormers, but this year they will play a proper 80-minute match against the Cape Town-based Super 14 franchise.
“It’s a proper match – 40 minutes a side,” confirmed UCT head coach John Dobson.
“In fact, having spoken to the Stormers coaches this week, they’re looking to use the game as a trial of sorts, so there certainly won’t be a shortage of motivation amongst their players.”
The Ikeys began their Varsity Cup pre-season training in November of last year (once again under the auspices of the Sports Science Institute), before Dobson gave his charges some time off over the Festive Season. The squad re-gathered last Monday and their training has been more rugby specific since the start of 2010.
Their rugby training will move up a notch in Riebeek West this week, as Dobson prepares his charges to take on the Stormers, but also with an eye to their other pre-season ‘friendlies’ – against Western Province (on Wednesday, January 20) in Belville and against Boland (Saturday, January 23) at Groote Schuur.
“It goes without saying that all of our warm-up matches are against high-quality opposition,” said Dobson.
“The guys have been training hard since November and I cannot thank the Sports Science Institute enough for all the work they put in before the end of the year.”
UCT, unfortunately, will be without a series of top players against the Stormers; with lock Don Armand, loose forward JJ Gagiano, centres Sean van Tonder and Tim Whitehead, utility backs Tiger Bax and Nick Koster and fullback Therlow Pietersen all carrying injuries.
Bax and Koster, of course, were involved with the Stormers last year, but will hopefully be able to prove their readiness for ‘big-time rugby’ via the 2010 Varsity Cup.
Speaking about the injuries, Dobson concluded: “Don, JJ, Tim and Therlow should be ready for our opening game against the Shimlas, but I would’ve liked to have had them (available) for the Stormers game.”
UCT’s pre-season fixtures:
January 16: v Stormers (Riebeek West), kick-off 10am
January 20: v Western Province (Belville), kick-off TBC
January 23: v Boland (Groote Schuur), kick-off TBC
Beautiful scenery of the Riebeek Valley.
Lets get to work boys!
Nothing like scrumming at 40C heat
Crouch, touch and pause…
backs getting ready for their drills
Red Bull gives you wings!
going going gone!
The lighter side of team selection – touch team selecton.