FNB Ikey Tigers head coach John Dobson was a happy man, despite his side’s 3-21 loss to the Stormers in a lively pre-season encounter in Riebeek West on Saturday morning.
The Stormers, who were captained by lock Anton van Zyl, scored three tries to nil and led 14-3 at half-time in a worthwhile outing for both sides.
Dobson said afterwards “I was very happy with how things went – especially if you consider the quality of the opposition and that it was first proper match of the year.
“We were slow out of the blocks, which I guess is understandable, but I was really very happy with the performance of my guys in the second half – they had some great moments on attack,” added the Ikeys boss.
“We’ve still got loads to work on, obviously, but at least we know in what direction we’re moving, and – of course – my players really enjoyed the opportunity to play against a fully professional side and to mix with the guys afterwards.”
Left-wing JJ Engelbrecht – who had a strong match – scored the Stormers’ first try early on thanks to a snappy backline move which caught the UCT defence unawares, but the students tightened things up significantly afterwards and were unlucky to concede another first-half try when lock Rynhardt Elstadt forced his way over the tryline.
UCT flyhalf Doug Mallett kicked a drop-goal shortly before half-time – his team’s first points against the Stormers, after being kept scoreless in 2008 and 2009 – and the Ikeys came into their own in the second half, testing the Stormers’ resolute defence on numerous occasions.
Replacement Stormers back Jurgen Visser scored his team’s third try – late in the second half – but it was almost against the run of play after a long spell of pressure from this talented UCT team.
Young centre Marcel Brache had an outstanding match for the Ikeys, whilst replacement back Jannie Bester had his team’s entire bench on their feet with two memorable runs down the left-hand touchline.
The Stormers’ Fijian import Sireli Naqelevuki made a few typically powerful runs in the second half, but also found himself beaten on the outside by nippy Ikeys winger Paul Cohen, whilst new Stormers flyhalf Lionel Cronjé showed some impressive touches in the opening stages of the match.
In a great gesture, Dobson and the Stormers coaches Allister Coetzee, Matt Proudfoot and Robbie Fleck all remained at the Rugby Performance Centre fields afterwards for a few minutes and were in heavy discussions about a variety of rugby issues.
“I would like to thank Allister and his coaching team for bringing their team out to Riebeek West,” said the UCT head coach.
“It’s our third pre-season match against the Stormers and it was nice to see the improvement we made – especially from last year. That said, I wasn’t entirely happy with the final scoreline, as we left a try out there, but it was a good lesson for my players and a really enjoyable day out.”
For the Stormers:
Tries: Engelbrecht, Elstadt, Hanekom
Cons: Cronjé 2, Visser
DG: D Mallett
Stormers: 15 Fabian Juries, 14 Sireli Naqelevuki, 13 Frikkie Welsh, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 JJ Engelbrecht, 10 Lionel Cronjé, 9 Bolla Conradie, 8 Pieter Louw, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 Pieter Myburgh, 5 Anton van Zyl (captain), 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 JD Moller, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Kritzinger.
Replacements – from: Sydney Tobias, Hein van der Merwe, Eusebio Guinazu, Martin Muller, Conraad Brits, Jacques Potgieter, Louis Schreuder, Jurgen Visser, Morné Hanekom, Johann Sadie.
UCT: 15 Pete Haw, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Matt Rosslee, 11 Paul Cohen, 10 Doug Mallett, 9 Stu Commins (captain), 8 Nick Fenton-Wells, 7 André Goosen, 6 Michael Morris, 5 Levi Odendaal, 4 Don Armand, 3 Chris Heiberg, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Ashley Wells.
Replacements – from: Mark Goosen, Matt Page, Wes Chetty, Grant Kemp, Mike Ledwidge, Pallo Manuel, Greg Mallett, Nic Groom, Kyle Wickins, Jannie Bester, Therlow Pietersen.
Referee: Joey Salmons