Preview: UCT vs Shimlas Monday 24 March, George (Supersport 1 15.55)
UCT’s Ikey Tigers have already secured a home semi-final in the inaugural FNB Varsity Cup, but the Capetonians would dearly love to end their Easter Weekend sojourn to George with yet another victory. The Ikeys started the Easter Festival on Thursday with a well-deserved 38-32 win over local rivals, Stellenbosch, before booking a home semi-final courtesy of a crushing 38-7 victory over Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Saturday.
“We weren’t at our best on Saturday,” admitted UCT coach John Dobson, “but we’ll take the win and first place on the log!”
Dobson will rotate his team for Monday’s final league match against
Shimlas, as he looks to blood the younger members of his squad in a
game that will be crucial for UCT’s opponents, who still have a chance
to qualify for the play-offs.
“We would dearly love to end the Easter Festival unbeaten and I’ve once
again picked 22 hungry players, all of whom have something to play for
ahead of the semi-finals, and hopefully a final,” explained Dobson.
One man who is by no means a fringe member of this UCT squad is
powerful wing Marvin Christians, who returns to the side after missing
a few matches due to training commitments with the SA Sevens squad.
‘Marvellous Marvin’, as he is known on the ‘Green Mile’, scored four
tries against Tukkies last month and he will be a crucial player for
the Ikeys come the Varsity Cup play-offs.
“We’re not looking that far ahead yet,” said Dobson, when reminded
about the semi-finals on Monday, March 31. “We’re obviously over the
moon to have secured a home semi, but tomorrow’s game is very important
as we could actually end up playing Shimlas again if we lose to them.”
Shimlas are currently in sixth place on 15 points; a victory over UCT –
who cannot be caught in first place – could see them end on 20 or 21
points and put them in contention for a semi-final spot.
However, it all depends on what happens in the other last-round matches
in George on Monday between NMMU (last position, five points) and
Tukkies (third, 19) at 8.30am, followed by NWU-Pukke (fourth, 18) v UJ
(fifth, 16) at 10.30am and TUT (seventh, 9) v Maties (second, 20) at
12.30pm. The UCT-Shimlas match follows at 4pm.
At this stage, only TUT and NMMU are completely out of contention for
semi-final places, but any one of the eight teams in action on Monday
will have a say in the final play-off schedule – although the Ikeys
will no doubt be sleeping the easiest on Sunday night after their
incredible log-topping performances thus far.
* Monday’s match between the Ikeys and Shimlas will be televised live on SuperSport 1 from 3.55pm.