Things look to heat up in the third round of the 2014 Varsity Cup when the Ikey Tigers take on the Madibaz in PE for the Monte Taljaard trophy on Monday, February 17. The Tigers, fresh off their win against Stellenbosch, will be looking to improve yet again with a win against NMMU.
While UCT lost their first game of the season against NWU-Pukke, they bounced back with their second game against Maties, winning 33-16. In terms of the atmosphere within the team this week following this win, UCT coach, Kevin Musikanth said: “the atmosphere has been an absolute pleasure to be part of, the boys have really turned the corner and our aim as a squad is to be better and better at every outing.”
The coach admits that the NMMU game is their biggest challenge yet, as they have won both of their previous games. “NMMU have come out of the blocks screaming and are definitely the side to beat. They absolutely hammered Maties and did very well away from home against UJ who drew well against Tuks, so we have our hands full at the weekend,” he said.
In terms of the preparation specifically for this game he went on to explain: “we have prepared very much in the same manner as we have prepared for Maties on Monday. While the mood in the camp is confident we are not complacent at all. The boys are happy and enjoyed the intervarsity win and hope to improve against NMMU.”
As the game takes place in PE, this means that the team will play their second consecutive match away from home. While it certainly holds its challenges, Musikanth said “I think for this squad the away games are great; there is a great spirit within the camp and the guys like travelling together so we are all looking forward to it.”
To add to the occasion, the Monte Taljaard Trophy will be up for grabs in the clash between FNB UCT and FNB NMMU. Taljaard a UCT First XV flanker and Grey PE rugby star, tragically passed away in a car accident in September 2008.
Since then, and given his roots in both Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, the Varsity Cup has allowed fixtures between the Ikeys and the Madibaz to double up as a celebration of Taljaard’s life – hence the awarding of the Monte Taljaard Trophy on an annual basis.
Monte was an incredibly popular player at the University of Cape Town, having captained his club’s Under-21 team with distinction in 2007, before stepping up to the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International in 2008 – where he even captained the Capetonians in a match against NMMU.
A Monte Taljaard Bursary has been established at UCT in Monte’s honour which is awarded – on an annual basis – to a deserving UCT (and rugby-playing) student. The 2013 recipient has been Ikeys center Nick Holton and it is only fitting that he would make his welcome return to the playing field in the fixture, following a long injury layoff.
The game will kick off at 19:00 and will not be televised, so turn to twitter.com/ikeytigers for live updates.
By Megan Kinnaird
UCT vs NMMU
FNB UCT: 15 Martin Sauls, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Nic Holten, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Liam Slatem, 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Shaun McDonald, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Robin Murray.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Michael Kennedy, 18 Vince Jobo, 19 Tinotenda Zakeyo, 20 James Alexander, 21 Ross Jones-Davies, 22 Suwilanji Chibale, 23 David Maasch.