Stu Commins who shares captaincy duties with Nick Fenton-Wells will lead his team in their first warm-up
The University of Cape Town’s Varsity Cup team will not be holding anything back when they face the Stormers in the first of the traditional pre-season fixtures at the Rugby Performance Centre in Riebeeck West on Saturday.
While the Stormers will field most of their fringe players against the students, UCT coach John Dobson feels that “nothing but the best” will do for this game.
“We really are looking forward to tomorrow [Saturday] and there is a whole vibe in the Riebeeck Valley about this game at Alan Zondagh’s amazing RPC,” Dobson said about the encounter with the Stormers.
“Unfortunately, given the physicality of this game – the Stormers players are on trial and it is a very, very physical backline we are up against – we cannot risk anything but our best conditioned players.
“As a result we have to let those with niggles sit out,” Dobson said.
Among those to miss out on Saturday’s game are American Eagles star JJ Gagiano and Sean van Tonder.
The Ikey Tigers will also be without a few of their Stormers squad players – like Nick Koster and Tiger Bax.
“Having whined about that, I would say that we are the best prepared that we have ever been at this time of the year,” Dobson added.
The UCT coach, who will go up against his former backline assistant, Robbie Fleck, said they are grateful to the Stormers for this annual fixture.
“We hope to give them some meaningful opposition,” he said, then directing a bit of good-natured banter at his former assistant, Fleck: “It is weird to coach against Fleckie, but at least I know how mentally fragile he is.”
University of Cape Town: 15 Pete Haw, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Matt Rosslee, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Doug Mallett, 9 Stu Commins (captain), 8 Nick Fenton-Wells, 7 André Goosen, 6 Michael Morris, 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Don Armand, 3 Chris Heiberg, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Ashley Wells.
Replacements – from: Mark Goosen, Matt Page, Wes Chetty, Grant Kemp, Mike Ledwidge, Pallo Manuel, Greg Mallett, Nic Groom, Kyle Wickins, Jannie Bester, Therlow Pietersen.
Date: Saturday, January 16
Venue: High Performance Centre, Riebeeck West
Kick-off: 10.00 (08.00 GMT)