FNB Maties coach Chean Roux is looking forward to Saturday’s Intervarsity clash against archrivals UCT at Newlands, a match that will see two of the Western Cape’s – and the Varsity Cup’s – top clubs go head-to-head.
UCT beat Stellenbosch 38-34 in a Varsity Cup league match last year – in George – but the Maties have had the better of their Cape opponents since then; beating them in the 2008 Varsity Cup Final, twice in last year’s WP Super League and, also, in the 2009 Varsity Cup league – even though all the matches were close-run affairs.
The Men from Stellenbosch are currently unbeaten in the 2009 Super league, whereas UCT have dropped one game thus far – ironically against Maties’ second team, Victorians.
Yet, despite all of that, it is with some trepidation that Roux is eyeing Saturday’s fixture – a game that will serve as a curtain-raiser to the Stormers-Force Super 14 fixture at the home of Cape rugby.
“I’m always nervous when we play against UCT,” admitted Roux in conversation with varsitycup.co.za.
“You never quite know what to expect from them, although I don’t expect the Ikeys to change too much from the way they played during the Varsity Cup – the tournament didn’t end that long ago.”
It has, however, been quite a challenge for Roux and his Maties charges since successfully defending their FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International title at the end of March.
Roux explained: “We managed to get some nice continuity in our squad by the end of the Varsity Cup, but since then we’ve welcomed back the slightly older guys, who could not play in the Varsity Cup, which has been quite tricky.
“We’ve played four matches so far and it’s been a bit of a struggle to get those five or six guys back in the mix, but hopefully we’ll be firing on all cylinders short before long.”
Of course, there is no better place than Newlands to fire on all cylinders – especially in a match of this magnitude.
“It’s great for the Maties and the Ikeys to be back at Newlands, playing in an Intervarsity game,” said Roux, whose side have thus far managed league wins over Victorians (20-16), Villagers (49-17), NNK (19-9) and Kraaifontein (67-0).
“These two sides have been responsible for creating a great vibe in the Western Cape during the Varsity Cup and I definitely think they can pull in a nice crowd and even boost the actual attendance for the main game (between the Stormers and the Force).
“Obviously, it will be a long day for those fans that are planning on watching both games, what with the Stormers game kicking off at 7pm only,” added the Maties mentor, “but I’m sure the students – despite some of the Maties guys being in the middle of exams – will make their presence felt throughout.”
Stellenbosch – who, according to Roux, have no serious injuries and a full squad to choose from – will announce their starting line-up later in the week ahead of what should be a cracking Intervarsity game!
Kick-off on Saturday is at 4pm.
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