Western Province and Stormers player Tiger Bax will make his first Varsity Cup start in two years when he lines up at outside centre for UCT in their clash against Pukke in Potchefstroom on Monday.
Bax, ironically, made his last start at this level in the 2009 Varsity Cup semifinal against the selfsame Pukke – injuries having curtailed his appearances.
The 2009 season was Bax’s breakthrough year. After impressing in the Varsity Cup – at outside centre – he made his Stormers debut against the Chiefs, but injury has not been kind to him since then.
However, he made his return from the bench against FNB Shimlas last week – a game UCT won 26-10 – and he will now start at No.13 in the absence of Marcel Brache who has been called up to the Western Province Vodacom Cup team.
Joining Brache in the WP squad was scrumhalf Nic Groom (who has been replaced by first-time starter Nicholas Farrar), whilst flanker Don Armand has dropped out after taking a knock to his head against Shimlas.
Former Bishops pupil Nizaam Carr will wear the No.6 shirt in Armand’s absence – having made such a huge impact from the bench in Bloemfontein – with Ikey Tigers head coach Kevin Foote keeping the rest of his victorious starting XV intact.
In changes to the bench, however; Foote has introduced loose forwards Brad Bosman and Zandy Macdonald – to cover the back five positions – with Scotty Watermeyer serving as scrumhalf back up.
Winger Ricky Rijs, 24, will make his Varsity Cup debut – joining scrumhalf Nicholas Farrar as one of two first-timers in the UCT starting XV, that after the 2010 losing finalists introduced a bunch of new faces against Shimlas last Monday.
* Monday’s Pukke-UCT clash – at the Fanie du Toit Stadium in Potchefstroom – gets underway at 7pm and will be televised live on SuperSport One.
The Ikeys and Pukke have met on five occasions in the history of the Varsity Cup, with the Men from Potch holding a 3-2 advantage (in terms of wins).
The FNB UCT team (revised): 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Ricky Rijs, 13 Tiger Bax, 12 Adrian Kritzinger, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nicholas Farrar, 8 Greg Mallett, 7 Nick Fenton-Wells (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Matt Page, 1 Wes Chetty.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Brad Bosman, 19 Zandy Macdonald, 20 Scotty Watermeyer, 21 Ricky Schroeder, 22 Sabelo Siyakatshana, 23 Niel Naude.