Coming off two big wins against the Maties and NMMU, the Ikey Tigers are more than amped up for their fourth round game against UP-Tuks on Monday. This week also sees the side returning home to play the big game on the Green Mile after two consecutive away games in Stellenbosch and PE.
Yesterday’s team announcement reveals few changes from last week’s game against NMMU. Ross Jones-Davies steps back into the starting line-up at full back, and the other additions are a mere reshuffling. Martin Sauls starts at outside centre this week, Vince Jobo is back at blindside flank, Robin Murray returns as loose head prop and Neil Rautenbach is off the bench and starting this week.
Speaking about the upcoming game, coach Kevin Musikanth insists that they are coming back to the Green Mile changed men, having lost their opening game to NWU-Pukke. “Our first game against Pukke was disappointing on so many levels and since then the team has pulled together and played with heart,” he said.
UP-Tuks are the clear favourites of the competition, thus far, given that they are unbeaten and consequently lie at the top of the overall log. However, the Ikeys playing at home will hopefully be to their advantage.
“We owe it to the Ikey supporters to put in a good performance against favourites Tuks on the green mile,” Musikanth said.
Despite their excitement, UCT have been sure to remain humble, and are not getting ahead of themselves just yet. As captain Liam Slatem said, “the boys are positive and the vibe is good within the squad. I am very proud of the character the guys showed over the past 2 weeks. However, we understand that we have not achieved too much yet and are looking to keep performing consistently each week.”
Musikanth speaks about a level-headed commitment to giving 100% heart and 100% effort. “There is a calm confidence in the camp and the team realizes that despite the fact that wins are important, the manner in which we prepare, and the boxes we tick, as well as the process of the way we play the game is more important than the “result”. So long as everyone ploughs in 100%,” he said.
The Ikeys will take on UP-Tuks on the Green Mile at 16:45 on Monday, February 24. The atmosphere is sure to be more intense as the game will be broadcast on Supersport. Tickets for the game can be purchased on webtickets.co.za.
UCT vs UP-Tuks
FNB UCT: 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Martin Sauls, 12 Nic Holton, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Liam Slatem (captain), 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Vince Jobo, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Jan Uys,3 Digby Webb, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Robin Murray.
Replacements: 16 Chad Soloman, 17 Michael Kennedy, 18 Shaun McDonald, 19 Zakeyo Tinetenda, 20 James Alexander, 21 Huw Jones, 22 Suwilanji Chibale, 23 David Maasch.
FNB UP-Tuks: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel,12 Ryan Nell, 11 Kefentse Mahlo; 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Reniel Hugo (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Arno van Wyk, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Jono Janse van Rensburg, 19 Leneve Damens, 20 Emile Temperman, 22 Francois Tredoux, 22 Duncan Matthews, 23 Neethling Fouche.
Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Neville Heilbron