FNB UCT head coach John Dobson has been forced into making some late changes to the Ikeys starting line-up for Monday’s Varsity Cup clash against the TUT Vikings – one of which sees the introduction of centre Mark Esterhuizen on the bench.
Esterhuizen – who has played Currie Cup rugby for Boland and SWD – replaces Sean van Tonder on the bench and will come into contention for a starting spot in the future when Tim Whitehead, as expected, joins up with the Western Province Vodacom Cup team.
The Bloemfontein-born Esterhuizen is also a former WP representative and will add much-needed depth to Dobson’s midfield resources this season.
In other changes to the UCT matchday 23, young loose forward Greg Mallett has been handed his first start in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International, with Sam Peter dropping down to the bench.
Mallett will wear the No.7 jersey, with JJ Gagiano at eighthman and the impressive Yaya Hartzenberg continuing on the other side of the scrum.
In a final change to the Ikey Tigers’ playing squad, meanwhile, prop Wesley Chetty takes over the No.23 shirt from Shane Meier.
Monday’s match, which will be played at the Green Mile at UCT, kicks-off at 4.30pm and will be televised live on SuperSport One.
It is the first time UCT will be hosting TUT in the history of the Varsity Cup, having beaten the Vikings in Tshwane in 2008 (52-16) and 2009 (39-21).
The FNB UCT team (revised): 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Paul Cohen, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Stu Commins (captain), 8 JJ Gagiano, 7 Greg Mallett, 6 Yaya Hartzenberg, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Levi Odendaal, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Mark Goosen, 1 Ash Wells.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Chris Heidberg, 18 Mike Ledwidge, 19 Sam Peter, 20 JP Robert, 21 Douglas Mallett, 22 Mark Esterhuizen, 23 Wesley Chetty.
Head coach: John Dobson
Assistant coach: Kevin Foote
Date: Monday, February 22
Venue: Groote Schuur
Kick-off: 4.30pm (Live on SuperSport One)
Referee: Luke Burger