It is a rematch of the epic 2014 Varsity Cup final the same teams clash at the same venue and the FNB Ikeys have made a number of changes to the line-up for their upcoming game at FNB NWU-Pukke in Round Five.
Adjustments mainly come in the form of a basic reshuffling, as well as 5 experienced players making their way back into the squad, following injury.
The game looks to be a thrilling one, given that UCT famously met Pukke in last year’s Varsity Cup final – scoring an unbelievable three tries in five minutes to beat the Potchesfroom side 39-33. The game was arguably one of the most thrilling comebacks in the history of South African rugby.
The Tigers are most definitely up for the challenge, with coach Kevin Musikanth explaining, “We are all incredibly excited and have huge respect for Pukke and their ability.”
As to preparation for the game, the coach noted that the same preparation has been employed – the team have a theme of the week, and have thoroughly done their analysis.
“We are happy to have a full card of fitness for this fixture – notably, for the first time in the 2015 Varsity Cup,” he said.
With regard to fitness, Richard Steward, Mike Kennedy, Robin Murray, Nicholas Holten and Nathan Nel are back.
Both Mike Kennedy and Richard Stewart – Ikey veterans – were side-lined due to injury only hours before the team’s Round Two encounter against Tuks in Pretoria. As such, having only played one game so far, their return has been highly anticipated.
Significantly, Nathan Nel – who snatched the final, match-winning try in that 2014 Varsity Cup final – makes his return to the Ikeys line-up, for the first time in 2015.
Centre Nicholas Holten also makes his way back into the side, following a minor strain prior to their Round Four encounter against NMMU.
With two successive games on the Green Mile, UCT head back out on the road again. Speaking to how the team feel about the travelling, the coach said “Our team loves touring and we are hugely up for the challenge.”
Finally, making reference to the fact that the team are coming off two successive wins, Musikanth noted: “It gave us good momentum and poised us nicely with regard to the campaign and the tough fixtures we have left.”
The Ikeys vs Pukke game kicks off at 19:00 tonight, and will be broadcast on Supersport.
The popular THE IKEY rugby pub at UCT will host the official Fan Park thet Rocks with plenty of specials and entertainment from 18.00 tonight. There will also be a video link live by SuperSport so bring your match fan day kit to get onto the big screen.
FNB UCT: 15 Khanyo Ngcukana, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Lihleli Xoli, 12 Nicholas Holten, 11 Dylan Sage, 10 Warren Seals, 9 James Alexander, 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Mark Prior, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Jade Kriel, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Joel Carew.
Replacements: 16 Mike Kennedy, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Luke Stringer, 19 Michael Botha, 20 Ryan Dugmore, 21 Guy Swikkard, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 Kyle Whyte.