The Ikey Tigers had a quality pre-season friendly against a well drilled SA U20 side at UCT’s Green Mile on Saturday afternoon – scoring 5 to 4 tries, but going down 29:31.
It was a fortuitous last-minute SA U20 try that sealed the Babyboks victory, but coach Kevin Foote would have been pleased enough with a match which saw his charges outscore the team in Green and Gold.
Most impressive, however, was UCT’s performance into the wind in the second half – the home side’s experience of the notorious Green Mile ‘breeze’ serving them well on the day as they continued preparations ahead of their Varsity Cup defence.
The visitors – under the coaching of Dawie Theron and Brendan Venter – took an early 14-0 lead, but FNB UCT ended the first 20-minute chukka just 7-14 down after Tiger Bax crossed unopposed thanks to a deft Nick Holton pass.
Holton converted and opened his team’s scoring in the second chukka to narrow the score to 12-14 and despite incessant UCT pressure – which basically saw them dominate possession for the next forty minutes – half-time came with the Ikeys just two points adrift at 12-14.
The third chukka produced a try against the run of play for the Baby Boks to take the score to 21-12 going into the final quarter. A Tony Jantjies penalty then made it 24-12 in the SA side’s favour and the game looked as good as over in terms of the result.
However, the Ikeys then started giving the ball some serious air and it resulted in tries for the skilful Dillon Leyds, forward Brad Bosman and winger Richard Stewart – after a superb kick and chase from Holton – and suddenly the home side held a 29-24 lead as the game went past eighty minutes on the clock.
It was not to be for UCT, however, as replacement SA U20 lock Jacques du Plessis crashed over for the winning score when the ball popped loose virtually from the restart, but – at the end of the day – the score would not have worried nor pleased either of the teams coaches, with decent match quality – after so much time spent on the training ground – the major highlight for both sides.
* Meanwhile, UCT’s Under-20 team played a curtain-raiser against the Steinhoff Cobras – UCT’s top Internal League team – and recorded a handy 40-0 win on the A Field.
It was a good start for the U20s ahead of the inaugural Varsity Young Guns tournament which – like the Varsity Cup proper – starts on Monday, February 6.
The 2012 Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships gets underway on February 13.
For FNB UCT:
Tries: Bax, Holton, Leyds, Bosman, Stewart
Cons: Holton 2
For SA Under-20:
Tries: Small-Smith, Botha, Willemse, Du Plessis
Cons: T Jantjies 4
The teams for Saturday:
UCT (squad): 1 Wes Chetty, 2 Matthew Page, 3 Adriaan Botha, 4 Pallo Manuel, 5 Levi Odendaal, 6 Ntsolo Setlaba (captain), 7 James Tatham, 8 Greg Mallett, 9 Nick Farrar, 10 Nick Holton, 11 Nathan Nel, 12 Michael Morris, 13 Tiger Bax, 14 Damian de Allende, 15 Paul Cohen, 16 Dayne Jans, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Shane Meier, 19 Neil Rautenbach, 20 Graham Knoop, 21 James Kilroe, 22 Brad Bosman, 23 TC Botha, 24 Stevie Wallace, 24 Dillon Leyds, 25 David Ambunya, 26 Richard Stewart, 27 Andrew Norton, 28 Nicholas Mills.
SA Under-20: 15 Marais Schmidt, 14 JJ de Klerk, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Patrick Howard, 11 Travis Ismael, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Mark Pretorius, 1 Allan Dell.
Replacements – from: Gideon Muller, Marzuq Maarman, Jason Thomas, Franco Marais, Mihlali Mpafi, Ettiene Oosthuizen, Jacques du Plessis, Cobus Nel, Shaun Adendorff, Poerie van Rooyen, KK Hlungwane, Errol Jaggers, Mathys Smit, Jan Serfontein, Ruwellyn Isbell.