Both UCT teams, the Ikey Tigers and the Eagles, varsity’s second side showed gutsy performances against the touring Saracens who are in Cape Town as part of their pre-season. The Tigers went down 26:3 (21:0 first half, 5:3 second half), while the passionate Eagles (2nd team) lost 39:3 to the star studded Saracens teams.
The Ikey Tigers came out guns blazing and didn’t hold back against the likes of England skipper Steven Borthwick, Derick Hougaard, Neil de Kock, Wikus van Heerden and All Blacks legend Justin Marshall.
The game was fairly evenly matched and UCT did well against the wind, holding posession and testing the visitor’s defense. It was Sarries however who drew first blood with a try by Rod Penney following a strong build up.
Saracens, who are on tour in South Africa for two matches – against the Ikey Tigers and a WP Invitational XV, played two fixtures at UCT; against the Ikeys’ second team, which they won 39-3 and against the first side, which they won 26-3.
Both matches were physical encounters, played in front of a lively crowd (which included big names like Francois Pienaar and Nick Mallett), and the lively students did not stand back to their more illustrious opponents – a team which included the likes of England skipper Steven Borthwick, Springboks Wikus van Heerden, Neil de Kock and Derick Hougaard and All Black legend Justin Marshall.
The first team match, in particular, provided good moments for both sides and UCT – who have impressed in the Varsity Cup – should be commended for conceding just one try in the second half which only added 5:3 points to the overall scoreline.
Afterwards, Saracens – and England – captain Steve Borthwick praised the hosts for their performance, saying that “there would be a few sore bodies on both sides”.
UCT coach John Dobson, meanwhile, was very proud of his charges – despite missing a host of his first-choice players due to injuries and various representative call-ups.
“My guys did themselves proud,” said Dobson. “They played against a fully professional side and did not take a step backwards – more than that I cannot ask for.”
Saracens now have a week before the next match of their pre-season campaign when they face a Western Province Invitational XV on Friday, August 14.
They return home next Sunday, before further warm-up matches against Agen (August 21) in France and then two home games against London Welsh (August 23) and Nottingham (August 25).
The Ikeys had some welcome returns by veterans and 2008 Varsity Cup back of the tournament James Martin, as well as experienced full back James Richards, who joined the team short notice because of a large injury and representative call ups list in the backs department.
For UCT JJ Gagiano again had a very strong match, as did hard running center Sean van Tonder. The Man of the match award went to skipper Bodo Sieber who was right at home in the extremely physical match.
UCT, who claimed a midweek victory over Victorians (Stellenbosch’s second team), will resume their WP Super League action next weekend.
Tries: Penney 2, Saull, Short
Cons: Hougaard 3
The Saracens team (v UCT first team): 15 Alex Goode, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Rod Penney, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Richard Haughton, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Justin Marshall, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Don Barrell, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements – from: Jamie George, Tom Mercey, Wikus van Heerden, Mosese Rauluni, Neil de Kock, Kameli Ratuvou.
UCT Ikey Tigers
15 James Richards, 14 Rob Hopwood, 13 James Martin, 12 Sean van Tonder 11 Dane Johnson, 10 Ollie Braithwaite, 9 JP Robert (VC) , 8 JJ Gagiano, 7 Craig Kleu, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Michael Passaportis, 4 Bodo Sieber (captain), 3 Shane Meier, 2 Hanyani Simange, 1 Dylan Rogers.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Ashley Wells, 18 Herbie Mayosi 19 Don Armand 20 Luzuko Panya, 21 Greg Mallet, 22 Doug Mallett 23. Freddie Cummins