The Ikey Tiger’s five-try 25-5 win over Wits on Monday sees them bag a home semifinal for the first time since 2011.
Coach Kevin Musikanth gives us the run down on how the team are feeling following the win, and how he felt the game played-out.
“The focus initially for the boys was to win the game as a win meant a home semi. Then the equation came in with the possibility of us ending first in the log if UJ managed to beat Pukke. Up until the last quarter that was happening so we were also aiming for the bonus point win,” he said.
As we know by now, the Tigers secured their bonus point in the second half through a try by powerhouse lock Shaun McDonald. However, with NWU-Pukke beating UJ 24-20, UCT remained in second place on the log.
While in Monday’s game, UCT were leading 10-0 at half time, they had not managed to score in the second quarter of the game. Speaking about the vibe in the team at half time, Musikanth said “it's been both a physically and mentally tough campaign so the boys needed to be lifted a bit. The last hurdle is always the toughest and we knew this, so we had to lift the boys a bit. Ultimately the team is responsive and we managed to pull together and score three good tries in the second half.”
When Wits managed to score their first try, Musikanth claims that the team’s defence of the try line in the face of continued attack was ultimately their most significant work of the game.
In terms of how the team and staff were feeling after the game the coach maintained a sense of honesty and humility saying: “in truth despite the 5 log point victory it was not our best rugby performance all round, so while we were relieved to bag the home semi we were disappointed in certain aspects of our performance.”
He went on, all in all though “we got our 5 points and our home semi final which means the world to the team. We felt we let down home support losing to Pukke and Tuks, and the least the boys could do after getting the campaign back on track was secure a home semi.”
The Ikeys will face familiar foes Maties in the semifinals next week following the team’s 41-24 win over defending champions Tuks. This will be the first time the two teams have met in the semis in the Varsity Cup, so the stakes will no doubt be raised.
“There is a lot of heart and desire in the team and the spirits are high. The boys pride themselves in giving 100 percent so are relishing a semi final at the green mile,” said the coach.
By Megan Kinnaird