UCT 14:15 Durbanville / Bellville
As could have been predicted, the nine matches in seven weeks of Varsity Cup and especially the last second loss in the heartbreaking final on Monday 7th, have left the Ikey Tigers wanting in their first Super League match of 2008 played on the Green Mile on Friday night.
It had only been three days of rest for the team since the final and while the bruises may have almost healed, the student’s bodies were tired and the minds weak – so the challenge just proved a bridge or a point too far.
UCT came out firing, with high paced uncompromising attacking rugby playing against the strong South Easter. But their pressure failed to produce points and every mistake saw them booted back into their half. The ref was evidently still getting used to the “new” ELVs and was slow to make calls at the breakdown. This favoured the heavier visitor’s, who also managed to draw first blood with a converted try, after some slipped tackles in centerfield.
UCT managed a try of their own to draw level before the halftime whistle.
The second half should have produced the goods for the students who now had the wind in their backs, but their tried and trusted UCT wind game wasn’t at its best and Durbell’s counter attacks, often with pick and goes around the fringes zapped additional energy of the Ikeys who were now starting to look a bit tired.
After defending an extended attacking phase deep inside their own dangerzone, UCT managed to turn the ball over and kick for touch. The Durbell throw-in was stolen and passed back to flyhalf Matt Rosslee who was ready to kick the ball deep into the visitor’s territory, however Kyle Wickend pass was knocked forward by a Durbell defender and never made it to his no10 but was instead pounced on for a try – all UCT’s and the spectator’s “knock-on” calls were futile, the Ref awarded the try and Durbell were in front.
The guests now had their tails up and ran hard at the homeside and the pressure told when they were awarded with a number of penalties, one of which produced another 3 points to make it 7:15. UCT started coming back, with a final display of determination, great running and skills brought them within a meter of the Durbell tryline. Here replacement flyhalf Danie vd Merwe sniped around the ruck to finish the move with a try, which Rosslee converted to make it 14:15.
Time was running out quickly and the Varsity Cup’s comeback kings this time unfortunalety didn’t manage to pull it off in the final seconds.
The match showed that the 2008 league will be as tough and competitive a round as ever and the skill, speed and finesse that helped UCT dominate the Varsity Cup needs a more definite physical element to it as well. Consolation for UCT coaches John Dobson and Rob Fleck would have been the strong showing of stalwards Jodie Burch who had some good runs, and Bodo Sieber who led the physical battle up front and put in big tackles.
Back to the drawing board and the week ahead will certainly be used to get the team ready and rearing for their clash with league favourites Hamiltons – to be played on Friday night on the Green Mile.
1. Herbert Mayosi, 2. Mark Goosen , 3 Dylan Rodgers, 4. Mike Ledwidge, 5 Bodo Sieber, 6 Luzuko Panya, 7. Graig Kleu, 8 Jody Burch (c), 9 Kyle Wickens, 10 Matthew Rosslee, 11 Marvin Christians, 12 Sean van Tonder, 13 Tim Whitehead, 14 Marcello Sampson, 15 Matthew Turner
16 JP Koster, 17 Wesley Chetty, 18 Donovan Armand, 19 Kyle Brown, 20 Danie van der Merwe, 21 Tim Whitehead, 22 Pieter Engelbrecht