Disappointment was a word mentioned often by UCT head coach John Dobson after his team’s 17-23 defeat to the Maties in Varsity Cup earlier this week – but the Ikeys boss now has his eyes fixed firmly on redemption against Tuks next Monday.
The Ikeys were not given much of a chance of upsetting the Maties juggernaut at the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday night, but Dobson’s charges – despite a poor start – were left kicking themselves after yet another defeat to the Men in Maroon.
Dobson, who guided his team to a heart-breaking final loss against the selfsame Maties in 2008, told Howie Kahn: “It’s churlish and a fiction in rugby to say one deserves to win. The scoreboard is the sole arbiter.
“But the fact is that you cannot make the amount of mistakes like we did against Stellenbosch and either expect to, or deserve to, win.”
Having missed 11 points at goal during the first half – and also giving away an intercept try, to lock Andrew Prior – the Ikeys found themselves 5-16 down at half-time.
A much-improved second half, which included two UCT tries, put them well back into the match. However, a knock-on just before the full-time whistle – virtually on the Maties tryline, with a four-to-one overlap to the left - eventually cost them the match.
“I am obviously disappointed as we went there to win, but to find yourself 13-0 down, having missed a couple of kicks and giving away an intercept try, is always going to be difficult against a side of the quality of Maties,” added the UCT boss.
“It was nice to have all the positive feedback that we have had. I was pleased with some aspects of our performance, but, at the same time, also extremely disappointed with our set-pieces, mistakes and elements of our attack structure.
“However, to be honest and taking everything into account, I think the result was a great disappointment for us.”
UCT have now dropped to third place on the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International log, but second place remains within reach – provided that Stellenbosch beat the FNB Pukke in Potchefstroom on Monday afternoon and UCT, in turn, then win their final league match later in the day, against FNB Tuks.
“We wanted to get through the league stages unbeaten, but in the end a dropped pass in the last minute probably cost us that. I really hope we do get the chance to play them [the Maties] again – maybe in a semifinal – but there is lots more to do before then. Our ask now is to solely win against Tukkies (on Monday).
“I think with UCT a lot of teams each year wait for us to implode but hopefully a game like Monday proves that we deserve our place at the top table of this tournament. It was a great occasion and spectacle for Varsity Cup rugby.”
By Howard Kahn