The FNB Ikey Tigers will once again be hitting the road as they travel to Potchefstroom to take on defending champions NWU Pukke. The team will be buoyed by their recent win against FNB Shimlas, while FNB Pukke will be desperate to bounce back after they were convincingly beaten by FNB Maties in a replay of last year’s FNB Varsity Cup final.
FNB Pukke currently sit one point above the FNB Ikey Tigers in the league standings, as both teams have the same win and loss record after three games. This game could prove to be another step up for the FNB Ikey Tigers, as they have improved every week since their opening day loss at the hands of FNB Madibas and seem to be finding their form at just the right time, with their derby match against FNB Maties right around the corner.
“We’ve definitely got a bit of confidence now, so we’re going into this match quite positive. We know it’s a big task and a tough venue to play at, but we’re up for the fight,” said coach Christiaan Esterhuizen.
While it may be too early to make any predictions about the outcome of the season, one thing that is certain is the FNB Ikey Tigers are determined to fight until the very end. Missing only small percentages of their tackles, reducing their handling errors and the number of fouls committed, being more clinical in attack, and playing with a real belief all add up and the results are beginning to show.
As far as the team news goes, there aren’t many injury worries ahead of Monday’s clash. The quick and powerful Rayno Mapoe retains his spot on the wing following a couple of fine performances, as well as Cuan Hablutzel, who has managed to score a try in each of the team’s three FNB Varsity Cup matches thus far. The team will also be boosted by the return of captain Jason Klaasen and Gary Porter.
The FNB Ikey Tigers team set to take the field:
1 Wayrin Losper, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 4 Duncan Saffy, 5 Gary Porter, 6 Jason Klaasen (C), 7 Luke Stringer, 8 Nyasha Tarusenga, 9 Stefano de Gouveia, 10 Rob Anderson, 11 Joel Smith, 12 Rico Lategan, 13 Tristan Mouton, 14 Rayno Mapoe, 15 Lohan Lubbe.
16 Martin Chandler, 17 William Day, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazebuko, 19 Nama Xaba, 20 Sanele Malwane, 21 Alva Sendreyani, 22 Hilio De Abreu, 23 Gerard Pieterse.
The game kicks off at 18:30 at Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds on Monday, the 20th of February.