The Ikey Tigers 12th unbeaten game has put them in pole position to challenge for the league title this Saturday, when they take on Victorians – the Maties second team.
The UCT students are now in a position to challenge for the league title with a chance to move past current log topping and 2010 champions Maties, who are playing at the National Club Championships this week.
UCT, who have not lost a Super League match since going down to Hamiltons in April, can cap off an outstanding season which saw them win the Varsity Cup and Intervarsity by winning the first League Title since 1974.
1. FNB Maties 18, 14, 69
2. Hamilton’s 18, 13, 66
3. FNB UCT 17, 14, 65
4. Durbanville-Belville 18, 10, 55
5. SK-Walmers 16, 10, 48
6. Victorians 16, 7, 43
7. False Bay 17, 8, 40
8. Villager’s 18, 6, 28
9. Belhar 17, 3, 18
10. Helderberg 17, 0, 6
The Maties on the other hand will be tested for depth and their Vics team will be the ones ‘winning’ or defending their club’s title – should they beat UCT, play to a draw, or even deny the Varsity Cup champions the required and all important bonus point.
The last time UCT came this close to League Honours was in 2007, when now coach Kevin Foote was captaining the side which was coached by Dave Mallet that year. Incidentally the Ikey Tigers also came up against Vics in the final match of the season and needed a 5 pointer to clinch the title. Victorians on the day were able to field players such as WP stalwarts Gus Theron and Werner Greef, so the Maties second stringers managed to deny UCT the win and the honours.
This year Maties are fully focused on Club Champs and have sent their very best squad who just beat Tuks 43:22 and are now meeting Pukke in the semi finals. The other semi final will be played by Varsity Cup semi finalists UJ and last year’s Club Champions College Rovers from KZN.
This doesn’t make the challenge facing the Ikeys any smaller, chasing a five pointer is not an easy feat, but the team has shown their big match temperament on several impressive occasions this year already.
Kevin Foote said about his charges: “I believe this team is capable of scoring tries from anywhere on the field – the guys have proved that this year. The big thing, however, is that the guys remain patient and don’t force the issue.”
UCT of course could well be in a different position on the log – but they had to compete the first three league matches with their brave Eagles XV standing in for the first team who played the Varsity Cup final at the same time. UCT lost to SK Walmers by a point and also away to a full strength Vics team – very valuable points in this relentless competition.
It is an interesting exercise looking at the team that started the Varsity Cup final and it is testament to the club’s depth, talent, positive culture and coaching structures that the squad is in the running for what used to be called the Grand Challenge without being able to field all but two of the Varsity Cup Final starters:
15 Therlow Pietersen (WP Amateurs), 13 Marcel Brache (WP Curie Cup) , 12 Tim Whitehead (WP Currie Cup / injured),10 Demetri Catrakilis (WP Currie Cup / injured), 9 Nic Groom (WP Currie Cup), 7 Nick Fenton-Wells (captain) (WP Currie Cup), 6 Don Armand, 5 Levi Odendaal (injured) , 4 Eben Etzebeth (WP U21), 3 Pete Olivier (injured), 2 Matt Page (injured), 1 Wesley Chetty.
All Ikeys supporters are invited to back their team this Saturday at UCT and witness another great challenge that may go down in the UCT history books.
Please note the adjusted kick off times: