Gunner Hughes, the FNB UCT u20 Trojans coach, has named the side to take on last years Young Guns losing finalists, FNB Jnr Maties, in what is expected to be a monumental clash between these two traditional rivals.
In an Intervarsity of sorts, The Green Mile will be hosting both the senior Maties as well as the Jnr Maties sides, in their respective games against the Ikey Tigers and the Trojans.
The stakes cannot be higher for this Trojans side as they well know, losing crucial pool games in the Young Guns version of the Varsity Cup can be detrimental to a sides prospects of reaching the knock out stages of the competition. Both sides come off wins against the FNB NMMU side, the Trojans having comfortably won 44 – 15 and the Jnr Maties having won 34 – 24. Although the Maties did not experience a runaway victory against the determined NMMU side away in Port Elizabeth, the results of both games have no bearing on who will ultimately succeed in winning this tough encounter.
Maties traditionally posses powerful forwards and this encounter should be no different, the young Ikeys pack will need to physically confront the big boys from the N1 and will look to the front row of Msizi Zondi, Mike Kennedy and David Maach to provide the impetus to stop them. The old faithful partnership of Olwethu Hans and Jade Kriel at lock provide great continuity going into this game, while the welcomed addition to the backrow of eighthman, Darryl Ndjadila, who has been with the Ikey Tigers, provides good leadership and skills which together with Tino Zakeyo and Captain Sean Johnson, form a strong and experienced pack.
Five of the seven tries scored against NMMU were from the backs, and this was no accident as the Trojans possess one of the most exciting backlines in the Young Guns competition. Spearheaded by the talented and creative flyhalf, Rob Anderson, the Trojans backs are sublime when in full flight. The addition of playmaker, Dean Stephen of Michaelhouse on the wing in the place of injured Josh Jacobson, provides an additional decision maker in the backline, while in the other change, SACS powerhouse Suwi Chibale moves into the starting team on the left wing in the place of Zukile Ncube who drops to the bench.
The Trojans will look to the senior players to keep a cool head which, although at home, will be a tough and physical encounter but if this game lives up to it's billing, spectators should be treated to an explosive match, where young men recently out of school, battle it out for bragging rights in the Western Cape.
Date: Monday, March 04
Venue: UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town
FNB UCT TROJANS: 15 Thomas Bednall, 14 Dean Stephen, 13 Brendan Rodgers, 12 Justin Scott, 11 Suwi Chibale, 10 Rob Anderson, 9 Daniel Anderson, 8 Darryl Ndjadila, 7 Tino Zakeyo, 6 Sean Johnstone (captain), 5 Jade Kriel, 4 Olwethu Hans, 3 David Maasch, 2 Mike Kennedy, 1 Msizi Zondi