Defending FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International champions FNB UCT-Ikeys are ecstatic to have reached their goal of reaching the semifinals of the competition.
Coach Kevin Musikanth said the team set themselves the initial goal of reaching the play-offs and had to work hard for it against a stubborn FNB UJ side, who refused to hand the spot to the Cape students on a silver platter.
A solitary try by Jason Klaasen and conversion by Warren Seals combined with stellar defence, was enough to claim an 8-0 victory and book themselves a battle with the only unbeaten side in the competition, the FNB UFS-Shimlas in Bloemfontein.
“The team is feeling great. The first goal for us was to make the play-offs – which we have now done – a good achievement for the team. It was a real street fight out there and what our boys proved is that we can mix it up with the best, and on the day we came out deserved winners,” Musikanth said.
The achievement is significant for the men from the Cape, given their early 24-39 loss to FNB UP-Tuks and their 24-44 Round Six loss to Shimlas.
“After the Tuks game we had a goal to make the semi-finals, which was never going to be easy. We knew we had to win one of the tough away games, and fortunately we had a stellar performance against FNB NWU-Pukke and bagged maximum points,” he added.
Both the team and Musikanth knew that the vital match would be their last one and, as such, a lot of pressure was placed on them. Added to that were injuries ahead of the UJ clash and it was up to the greater squad to step-up to the plate and produce the goods.
“Under the circumstances the team achieved the desired outcome and galvanized ourselves as one, with a gutsy determined effort against a very strong UJ side.
“They came at us hard but our pack stood up to the challenge and managed to hang in where it counted. Defensively we looked very solid. We worked hard on it and bearing in mind that we had conceded 44 points the week before, it was a wonderful achievement. All in all, it was a massive performance on all fronts and the boys bought into everything that we worked on during preparation.
“While the team often failed to finish when they had ball in mind, in the end all I could have asked for from the lads was for a proud, inspired performance and they certainly delivered on that,” he added.