Ikey Tigers opt for experience in opener

Matt Rosslee – here defending in a drill – will add three Varsity Cup competitions worth of experience at flyhalf.
FNB UCT head coach John Dobson has selected a very experienced starting line-up for his team’s 2010 Varsity Cup opener against Shimlas in Port Elizabeth this coming Monday.

Eleven of Dobson’s starting XV boast extensive FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International experience; with the likes of Therlow Pietersen, Marcello Sampson, Matt Rosslee, JJ Gagiano, Stu Commins, Martin Muller, Don Armand and Ash Wells all fronting up for their third seasons at this level.

The Ikeys will be captained by loose forward Nick Fenton-Wells who will team up with American international Gagiano (No.8) and Michael Morris (openside flank) in a well-balanced loose trio, whilst new faces like Marcel Brache (outside centre) and Paul Cohen (left-wing) are also worth watching out wide.

UCT’s bench also has plenty of experience in the shape of hooker Mark Goosen, centre Sean van Tonder and prop Wes Chetty, whilst new faces like Chris Heidberg (prop), Yaya Hartzenberg (loose forward), Levi Odendaal (lock), Nic Groom (scrumhalf) and Doug Mallett (flyhalf) will all be hoping to get a first taste of Varsity Cup action.

Hartzenberg and Odendaal are both new recruits – having represented WP Under-21 and Lions Under-21, respectively – and will add plenty some extra grunt to the UCT pack in the second half.

The FNB UCT team: 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Stu Commins (vice-captain), 8 JJ Gagiano, 7 Michael Morris, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells (captain), 5 Martin Muller, 4 Don Armand, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Ash Wells.
Replacements: 16 Mark Goosen, 17 Chris Heidberg, 18 Yaya Hartzenberg, 19 Levi Odendaal, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Sean van Tonder, 22 Doug Mallett, 23 Wes Chetty.

Head coach: John Dobson
Assistant coach: Kevin Foote

Date: Monday, February 1
Venue: Xerox NMMU Stadium
Kick-off: 2.30pm
Referee: Ben Crouse

By James Kingston

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