Making friends the UCT way – Fleck

This week retired Springbok centre Robbie
Fleck looks back at the FNB Varsity Cup Festival in George – a successful jaunt
for his table-topping Ikeys Tigers side, who are superbly-placed ahead of next
Monday’s semi-finals.

What a
great few days in George!

Yes, I
guess things were made easier by the Ikey Tigers ending the Easter Weekend
unbeaten, but I truly believe this entire competition, and the weekend, in
particular, have been a huge success.

The crowd
in George wasn’t huge, but the organisation was superb and it was great having
all the ‘koshuise’ lending their support and helping create a nice student-type
vibe from Thursday right through to Monday.

The UCT
guys loved the few days in George – the rugby was good, but the guys were able
to enjoy themselves off the field, too. Of course, regular readers of this
column will relate to what I’m saying here – our intention throughout the
Varsity Cup has been for on-the-field and off-field success; thus far we have
achieved both.

But the
tournament is by no means over. Yes, we are on top of the log – also scoring
the most points and tries and conceding the fewest points and tries – but we
need to continue playing our exciting and entertaining brand; the results will
continue to take care of themselves.

This ‘UCT
brand’ has become a much talked about feature of the Varsity Cup. The Ikeys
have always been renowned for giving the ball some air and running from
everywhere, but these players have bought into the coaches’ vision, making it
very easy for us coaches to work on improving their game.

We made a
lot of new friends in George with this approach of ours and I’ve had plenty
friends – from within rugby and beyond – ring us up congratulating us on this
style of play and our approach to the game. It is winning people over and
creating a cult following in and around Cape Town – the players
can feel very proud of what they have achieved thus far.

Of
course, we want to take it a step further and hoist that cup in two weeks’
time. For South African rugby’s sake I hope we do – it will prove that playing
the game like this is not only a joy to watch, but also a successful brand of
rugby, which would only benefit South African rugby on the whole.

I guess,
as the top side in the tournament and with a home semi-final just days away
now, the expectations will be high on this young side. In the past, UCT sides
have failed to live up to expectations, but this team is different in that
respect and with the exception of our opening-game loss to NWU-Pukke, the
confidence shown by these youngsters has been staggering.

For us,
it’s not about chasing results. It’s about playing the game the way we want and
to the best of our abilities – the results (as we have seen in our last six
games) will take care of themselves.

Pukke,
our semi-final opponents, are a tough outfit and we certainly will not be
taking them for granted on Monday. We have done a lot of analysis over the past
few days and we have made a few changes, which, we hope, will catch them
off-guard come Monday afternoon. We have some tricks up our sleeves and we aim
to unleash a few of those against Matthew Proudfoot’s well-drilled side.

A 2.30pm kick-off might not suit everyone next week, but the guys at UCT have already been
hard at work behind the scenes to create the perfect atmosphere come Monday. We
are pulling out all the stops to create the perfect day – on and off the field!

Beer will
be on sale after the match, so we’re hoping for a big crowd to stick around
afterwards. But we’re also looking to involve all the locals in the area – like
Forries on Newlands Avenue – to host some before parties and allow everyone to
get together for a quick pre-match ‘dop’ before making their way to the ‘Green
Mile’ to watch us in action against Pukke.

Tell your
boss you need the afternoon off, nip into Forries for a quick pub lunch with
some mates and see you at UCT for some fantastic varsity rugby afterwards.

Something
special is brewing at the UCTRFC – and with this Varsity Cup tournament on a
whole – and you’d be foolish to miss out on being part of it; especially with
the possibility of an all-Cape final next Monday.

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