UCT, will play host to English club Saracens in a series of valuable pre-season fixtures for the highly-rated London-based outfit.
Saracens, who are now under the coaching of former Springbok centre Brendan Venter, will travel to Cape Town in August for matches against UCT and Western Province as they begin preparations for their 2009/2010 season.
They will play two games against the Ikeys on Friday, August 7, before coming up against Western Province – as part of their strategic partnership with the Cape Town-based union – on August 14.
“Brendan is keen to come out to Cape Town, given Saracens’ partnership with Western Province,” explained UCT head coach John Dobson to varsitycup.co.za
“(But) aside from the WP match, they needed another fixture and we have agreed to help them out.
“We will play two matches against them, which is obviously a big opportunity for us as a club, but it’s also a tricky time for us given that we’ll just be back from University holidays.”
English captain Steve Borthwick was recently confirmed as Saracens’ captain for the upcoming season, with World Cup-winning Springbok flanker Wikus van Heerden appointed as his deputy.
Van Heerden aside, there are a number of other South Africans at Saracens, with former WP scrumhalf Neil de Kock (pictured) headlining a long list of ‘Saffers’ set to visit their homeland next month.
Other South Africans likely to make the trip to Cape Town are Brad Barritt (who now qualifies as an English player), Mouritz Botha, Schalk Brits, Michael Horak (a former England Test player), Derick Hougaard, Ernst Joubert, Justin Melck, Ethienne Reynecke and Frik Venter.
Saracens – who used to be coached by Varsity Cup Chairman Francois Pienaar, who also played for the club in the mid-to-late-1990s – will play more warm-up games when they return to England after their Cape Town visit.
The Brendan Venter-coached side will also travel to France to play Agen on August 21, before facing English Division One clubs, London Welsh (August 23) and Nottingham (August 25) in England.