Stu Commins trying to get away from a Pukke defender in last year’s match on the Green Mile
UCT Ikey Tigers coaches John Dobson and Rob Fleck have announced their team to take on Pukke in the crucial and final round robin match of the Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International.
UCT need one log point to secure a home semi final – a fourth try against Shimlas would have provided the latter – now they need to wrestle it from Pukke in Potchefstroom, or simply win which will of course also keep the men from the North West at bay.
Dobson rued the missed chances of UCT’s last home game earlier in the week and who can blame him, the game could have secured a home semi final and had his Tigers sit comfortably with a game in hand, allowing him to manage and rest players. But Shimlas still in with a grasp of the play-offs, turned out to be a close call. (read the match report here) The week was spent working hard and fine-tuning the aspects of the game that needed improving – now the Tigers are back on track.
Pukke currently third trailing the second placed UCT by 5 log points, know they can even claim second spot and the precious home semi final if they beat the Ikeys with a bonus point and more that 9 points difference on the score board and will go all out.
The Tigers are fully aware of the task at hand, a defensive bonus point would do the trick, but the Cape side won’t risk self distruction, going into the game with a calculator. Ikeys flank Nick Fenton-Wells who will again wear the No6 jersey told uctrfc.co.za: “We are not going to Potch to try and salvage a point, we going there to play good rugby, do our best and come back with 4 points.”
The odds are on UCT’s side, but nevermind the outcome, it is very likely that UCT meet Pukke in two back to back games, on Monday (16th) and again the week after in the semi finals (23rd) which of course makes Mondays match even more interesting.
Ikeys coach Dobson says his team don’t mind the trips up North, as the conditions suit the rugby they want to play. History proves him right, cause UCT haven’t lost a single away game in that part of the country in their Varsity Cup history. He reckons they are actually quite relaxed about where they play the semis, the most important thing is to have qualified and to have done so early.
According to the VC play-off format second place, takes on third – Monday’s match will decide who is in the better position. That said, semi finals as well as finals are special games with very special rules. Who could forget last year, when UCT were topping the log, hosting the fourth placed Pukke at home in a nailbiter semi final of unseen proportions. Pukke had the game in the bag, when UCT staged an unbelievable second half comeback and clinched their spot in the finals with a penalty in extra time.
UCT are fielding their strongest side on Monday to get back into their rhythm after last Monday’s average performance. The travelling 22 only has two injury enforced changes, with Marvin Christians coming to the wing in place of Dane Johnson and Mike Nel coming onto the bench for Sean van Tonder.
There will again be a Fan Village at the UCT Rugby Club for all the Blue and White supporters! Click here for more info.
Kick off: 16:45 in Potchestroom – Live on Supersport
UPDATE: Marcello Sampson is out injured and Peter Haw gets hist first start this year. Dane Johnson moves to the bench to cover wing.
UCT Ikey Tigers: 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Marvin Christians, 13 Tiger Bax, 12 Pieter Engelbrecht, 11 Peter Haw, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Stuart Commins, 8 JJ Gagiano (captain), 7 Enoch Panya, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Donovan Armand, 4 Michael Passaportis, 3 Shane Meier, 2 Dayne Jans, 1 Dylan Rogers.
Replacements: 16 Mark Goosen, 17 Ashley Wells, 18 Dane Galley, 19 Kuselo Moyake, 20 Kyle Wickins 21 Mike Nel, 22 Dane Johnson.
Head coach: John Dobson
Assistant coach: Robbie Fleck