As the Ikey Tigers get set to host their first home match of 2011, captain Nick Fenton-Wells has urged his players to get themselves up for yet another big week of Varsity Cup rugby.
The unbeaten UCT side will play host to the winless FNB Madibaz on Monday, February 21 (kick-off 7pm) – a game one would expect the hosts to win; especially given their red-hot form of late.
The Ikeys have beaten the Shimlas (26-10) and NWU-Pukke (36-8) away from home, with NMMU losing to Tuks and UJ, but skipper Fenton-Wells scoffed at any talk of an easy fixture: “There is no such thing as an easy game in the Varsity Cup – certainly not this season when you look at the results so far.
“We’ve been hard at work this week and are determined to make it three from three,” he told varsitycup.co.za.
“We’re obviously over the moon with our results so far, especially the bonus point win in Potch, but we don’t want to take the foot off the gas this Monday – that would undo all the hard work we’ve put in thus far.
“To be honest, it hasn’t been hard to motivate the guys – they’re all very excited about playing at home, but also because we’ll be playing against NMMU for the Monte Taljaard Trophy.”
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.
“The memory of Monte is massive to us at UCT – it’s what we’re about as a team,” said Fenton-Wells. “We’re looking forward to playing this game in his honour and making sure we honour him properly.”
Meanwhile, looking back at their impressive start to the 2011 Varsity Cup, Fenton-Wells – who is in his second year as UCT’s captain – paid tribute to the new faces in the Ikeys squad this season.
“We lost a lot of players after last season – some very experienced players,” he said to varsitycup.co.za.
“But all the new guys have just stepped in without any fuss – they’re all standing up and taking the bull by its horns. As a captain, it certainly makes your job a lot easier when a youngster like Nizaam Carr steps in and has a blinder in his first start. I mean, what can you say to a guy like that?
“I also think our bench has had a massive impact this year,” he added.
“Zandy Macdonald came on at a crucial stage in the game, after we’d scored our fourth try, but we were by no means home and dry. Pukke were on the attack in our 22, yet Zandy came on an immediately made a great tackle and won the turnover too – it was basically the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as Pukke were concerned.”
By Howard Kahn
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)