Helderberg 33:41 UCT
The Ikey Tigers, back after a long break started their second half of the 2008 season with a 5 pointer away at Helderberg. The newly promoted team from the Strand looked all but dead, when the Ikeys helped themselves to an effortless 24:3 lead with not even 30 minutes down, but the home-side was far from beaten, clawing their way back within reach when the students took the foot off the pedal.
The match had initially been scheduled as the first 2008 league match in April, but needed to be moved as the Ikey Tigers played the Varsity Cup semi final on that weekend. The WP Rugby Union found a slot to fit in the fixture. UCT were warned, Helderberg with only one win on their books seemed an easy win on paper, but in fact the team had a number of matches that went down to the wire and could quite easily have had four or more wins.
UCT fielded a mean pack, that had WP Vodacom regular Rito Hlungwane locking down with German International Bodo Sieber. SA 7s star Mpho Mbiyozo, currently contracted to Boland, packed down with SA Amateur flank Luzuko Panya on the side of the scrum and big Jody Burch at no8. Regular props Vakai "Fish" Hove and Herbert Mayosi alongside new WP cap Mark Goosen formed the frontrow.
The Ikeys started with slick hands and with only minutes into the game, Dave Edgar rounded off a great move, gliding around his opposite number to score untouched. Shortly after the backs again showed superb hands when Kev Foote and Dave Clayton proved excellent skills to give some space to Rob Hopwood who came flying down the touchline. It was Hopwood again who collected a clever chipkick to dot down for his second try and with Danie vd Merwe adding some excellent kicks, the Tigers were up 24:3 with not even 30 minutes on the clock.
The Ikeys now showed some of their schizo rugby mentality going from world class, to absolute rubbish within a couple of minutes and taking the foot off the pedal combined with silly mistakes allowed Helderberg back into the game. Helderberg now also scored two tries and some kicked points before Jody Burch scored his easiest try of the season, when he dived around a ruck on the tryline, after the UCT pack had made some good yardage. It was halftime, Helderberg had had a sniff and it was game on for the second 40.
UCT still struggled to regain their composure and Helderberg looked more and more dangerrous running back kicks and showing good pace out wide. The Ikeys pushed hard though and had some good moments, Dave Clayton again excellent under the high ball and James Martin having some trademark breaks, but silly mistakes made the Strand team look dangerous and score two more tries to make it four a piece.
Danie vd Merwe’s boot was the only difference between the two sides and the Ikeys were now only three points ahead of their opposition who had their tails up. The students dug deep and answered Helderberg’s fifth try with a fifth try of their own, after some good phases were played off the kick-off, Andre Coetzer broke through a tackle and scored in the corner. Danie vd Merwe’s boot was again spot on from the touchline, to make it a personal haul of 16 points and 100% and take the Ikeys out of reach with only minutes to go.
It was a new team in the blue and white, with some of the guys back from injury or provincial commitments, while a lot of U20s got called up, so mistakes were to be expected. UCT had their strongest scrumming performance of the season agains the big Helderberg pack and the backs showed some brilliant moments.
UCT will have shaken off their rustiness and gotten back into competition mode, come their showdown with SK Walmers on Friday night
(NB. the Newlands fixture for Saturday has been reschedulded for 9pm Friday night on the Green Mile).
Tries: Dave Edgar, Rob Hopwood (2), Jody Burch, Andre Coetzer
Kicks: Danie vd Merwe (16 Points)
1. Vakai “Fish” Hove, 2. Mark Goosen, 3.Herbert Mayosi, 4. Rito Hlungwane, 5. Bodo Sieber 6. Enoch Panya, 7 Mpho Mbiyozo, 8 Jody Burch (c), 9. Danie van der Merwe, 10. Peter Haw, 11.James Martin, 12. Kevin Foote, 13. Dave Edgar (vc). 14. Rob Hopwood, 15Dave Clayton
JP Koster, Dylan Rogers, Mike Ledwidge, Craig Kleu, JJ Gagiano
Matias ‘Chili’ Vergara, Matt Russell, Andre Coetzer