By JJ Gagiano
The Ikey Tigers started their rigorous pre season training in November of 2008, with physical testing at the Sports Science Institute. The boys were given a week or two off and then started with their gym programmes and on field sessions. This is a big achievement, traditionally Varsity only really gets going in middle of January.
A large squad has been assembled and everyone is very excited. Surprisingly the squad is younger than it was last year, which is hard to believe!!! We have lost a few key players due to age and higher honours, most notably, Craig Kleu, James Martin, Dave Edgar, Herbie Mayosi and Kyle Brown to the South African 7’s Squad. The squad has amazing depth and it gives the opportunity for the youngsters to step up and make their mark.
We were given 12 days off over the festive season before we went on our pre season camp to Elgin on 3 January, which was great for team building as the boys were put through their physical and mental paces. The field training for the New Year started on 5 January, and we have been going 6 days a week sometimes twice a day. The boys are definitely getting the miles on the clock!!! We will start to ease off as we get nearer the start of the Varsity Cup. The team is looking in great shape.
We are being carefully monitored by our fitness training by Tiaan with our weekly HIMS Testing at Sports Science. We held our trials on 13 January in the format of 10’s. This is great way to test fitness and skill; the coaches were very impressed with the skill and commitment levels so early on in the season. There was definitely a little bit of banter between the coaches during the trials as each one was responsible for a team.
The coaches have chosen their squads for a warm up against the Vodacom Stormers and Vodacom Western Province in Riebeek West on 17 January. We have 3 more warm up games in that of Boland on Wednesday the 21 and SWD Eagles on Saturday 24 January and a game against Fort Hare University on Monday 26 January.
The players would like thank the Sports Science Institute, especially Morne Du Plessis and Professor Tim Noakes for the use of the excellent facilities. Dr Sherryle Calder and her team who have started to work with the squad. To the fitness and medical staff particular Tiaan and Gerald for their tireless efforts to insure we are fighting fit. To Jake White who is teaching us defence and passing on invaluable knowledge. To our coaching staffing John, Rob and Bob for all the effort and sacrifices they have put in to ensure that our campaign is both successful and enjoyable on and off the field. Lastly I would like to thank all the players for the time commitment and sacrifice that they have put in.