UCT 10:3 Victorians
The Ikey Tigers defended their way to a mid-week victory against old foes Victorians up at the Green Mile in terrible conditions. It was a classic varsity winter evening, with howling winds and horizontal rain for most of the game on the Highway side of the pitch. Both teams tried to play their student brand Rugby despite the heavy field and the few who braved the late fixtures inhospitable conditions saw an entertaing match, albeit the low scoreline.
The Ikeys played against the strong wind in the first half and did well to keep the Vics tryless and with only 3 points on the board. The visitor’s flyhalf did however put two penalties against the pole but the bounce went the home-side’s way. UCT’s coaches John Dobson and Rob Fleck had opted to rotate their squad of players as much as possible, after the heavy fixture vs SK Walmers last Friday and with another tough match looming in the form of a rejuvenated Tygerberg on Saturday. This saw young flyhalf Matt Russell get his debut for the Ikeys and he did well albeit the tough conditions.
It was bucketing down and withing minutes everyone but the wings was soaked and muddy, but both sides handled the slippery ball well. Vics used the wind and pinned UCT into their half for most of the first forty, so it was a welcome turn of events, when UCT’s flank Jody Burch intercepted a poor pass to sprint from half way. He got caught 10 meters short by the cover defense, but did well to hold onto the ball, so UCT managed to score in the corner where winger Matt Turner finished off. Unfortunatley Turner took a knock in that move and had to be replaced by James Martin.
Danie vd Merwe who’s boot is getting better with each game, managed the "impossible" conversion from the corner flag with a howling wind against him on that end of the field to make the halftime score 7:3.
UCT playing in their unfamiliar blue "away" jerseys now had the wind in their backs for the second spell and used it to gain some territorial advantage. But the game was still wide open, with neither team adding more points. The Ikeys now rang the changes and needed the fresh legs, cause Vics, in the true Matie "never say die" spirit pushed hard for points.
UCT added 3 more points to their lead with a well taken penalty by vd Merwe and kept play in the oppositions half. A combination of indiscipline and controversial ref decisions saw Vics get awarded three penalties in 2 minutes and claw their way back from their own 5m into the Ikeys 22, from where they started battering their way forward. The Ikeys defended well, but Victorians did eventually get over the line after a number of pick and go’s. However the ref ruled the ball had been held up.
The Ikeys managed to free themselves and see out the remaining seconds till the final whistle.
For UCT Captain JJ Gagiano had a good game and impressed with a huge hit on the Victorian’s heavyweight tighthead prop, that earned him the Tim Lane Big Hit award. Danie vd Merwe, again excellent at no 9 was voted UCT’s most accurate player of the match.
UCT now prepare to take on Tygerberg who are fighting relegation and have significanlty strengthened their team with a number of Irish players. The match will be played at Florida Park on Saturday 2nd of August, which is always a difficult away venue.
Try: Matt Turner
Con / Pen: Danie vd Merwe
1. Vakai “Fish” Hove, 2. JP Koster, 3. Dylan Rodgers, 4. Rito
Hlungwane, 5. Mike Ledwidge 6. Enoch Panya, 7 Jody Burch, 8
JJ Gagiano (c), 9. Danie van der Merwe, 10. Matt Russell , 11. Matt Turner,
12. Pieter Engelbrecht 13. Dave Edgar (vc). 14. Rob Hopwood, 15 Dave
Dayne Jans, Ashley Wells, Ian Matthews, Bodo Sieber, Mpho Mbyozo, Matias ‘Chili’ Vergara, Peter Haw, Kevin Foote, James Martin