Ready for a big Monday in pink – UCT vs TUT man of the match Ash Wells with Ikeys supporters UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price and Premier Helen Zille (photo: Carl Fourie)
Meanwhile Ikey Tigers head coach John Dobson has picked two new flanks for Monday’s mouth-watering Varsity Cup clash against giantkillers, FNB UJ, in Johannesburg.
Injuries and Vodacom Cup call-ups have forced Dobson’s hand, somewhat, but he has introduced two new and exciting players; openside Zandi Macdonald and blindside André Goosen – both of whom will make their debuts for UCT in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International.
Zandi Macdonald, the son of former Springbok Dugald (from the 1970s), is a hard-working and foraging No.7, whilst Goosen – who joined UCT from NMMU this year, on his own accord – will add some muscle in the No.6 shirt with Yaya Hartzenberg on Vodacom Cup duty with Western Province.
In other Vodacom Cup-related changes, Sean van Tonder replaces Tim Whitehead in the No.12 jersey, whilst Don Armand returns – after some time off – to fill the void left by Martin Muller’s WP call-up.
Elsewhere in the UCT line-up, veteran Varsity Cup player Pete Haw returns in place of youngster Paul Cohen on the right-wing and Dayne Jans is back at hooker, with Mark Goosen missing out altogether after taking a blow to his face against TUT on Monday.
Young Matthew Page will be Jans’s back-up on the bench, whilst centre Mark Esterhuizen – who boasts Currie Cup experience – will be hoping for some game time after being an unused replacement during UCT’s 25-19 win over TUT.
“We have shuffled a bit over the past few weeks and, frankly, in a way we can settle now that the contracted players, as good as they are, have gone,” explained Dobson, the UCT coach.
“We are missing a lot of good players – but a player like Don Armand is one of our best forwards, so it’s great to be able to choose him and a few of our regulars again.”
Speaking about the challenge of travelling to Johannesburg, Dobson concluded: “We are underdogs against this good, all-round UJ side – but we are so keen to play our first game with no wind and, hopefully, for the first time this season we can play our style of rugby [without the wind].”
* UCT and UJ have met twice in the Varsity Cup, with UCT winning both encounters – 34-31 (at UJ) in 2008 and 32-12 (at UCT) in 2009.
Of course, UJ caused the shock of the 2010 tournament earlier this week when they beat NWU-Pukke in Potchefstroom.
The FNB UCT team: 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Pete Haw, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Sean van Tonder, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Stu Commins (captain), 8 JJ Gagiano, 7 Zandi Macdonald, 6 André Goosen, 5 Donovan Armand, 4 Levi Odendaal, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Ash Wells.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Page, 17 Chris Heidberg, 18 Mike Ledwidge, 19 Sam Peter, 20 JP Robert, 21 Douglas Mallett, 22 Mark Esterhuizen, 23 Wesley Chetty.
Head coach: John Dobson
Assistant coach: Kevin Foote
Date: Monday, March 1
Venue: UJ Stadium
Kick-off: 6.30pm (Live on SuperSport One)
Referee: Archie Sehlako
by Howie Kahn