UCT Ring the Changes for UJ Test

Next week, the Ikey Tigers will look to bounce back from their loss against Tuks, with their fifth round away-game against UJ.

The team announcement for the game once again reveals only slight adjustments from the previous game. Thus far, the team have been fortunate in that they have only used 25 players in the four games played.

Perhaps the biggest change is the inclusion of scrumhalf James Alexander in the starting line up, taking the place of captain Liam Slatem, who starts on the bench this week. Until this point, the trusty ‘Slates’ has been the starting choice.

Coach Kevin Musikanth explains the switch saying that game time is important for both men. “James Alexander is the second captain of the side and has deputized for Slates in the first four games; he was one of Maties best players last year when they made the final and has been closing games out for us in the past and now he gets his chance to start,” he said. 

He went on, “They are both fantastic leaders and great team men, and Slates as the squad captain has been exceptional to date, so the team and coaching staff has great confidence in both of them with the important roles that they are playing. We truly are fortunate to have these two exceptional players at 9.”

Hooker Chad Solomon, who started for the team against NMMU gets a start again, with Neil Rautenbach providing much-needed experience off the bench. Flanker Shaun McDonald, who started against Maties and NMMU, also gets a start this time round  “Guy Alexander has started and played most of the first four games so he gets a well-earned rest, with Vince Jobo starting against his old team mates,” as Musikanth said.

Lastly, Centre Huw Jones, who scored a brilliant try in the final minute of the Tuks game, starts the game in place of Martin Sauls who starts from the bench. New additions to the squad from last week come in the form of Msizi Zondi and Kyle Kriel, who will look to do their best away from home.

The Tigers have done will in the tournament so far, winning two of the four games they have played, and only going down to the two teams currently topping the log: NWU-Pukke and Tuks. On Monday, they will look to get back onto the winning track with the UJ game, and fight their way into the semis.

Speaking about the previous wins, and going forward Musikanth explained “we had hard-fought, character building wins on the road against Maties and NNMU, but that is now history and as a team we now need to respond and develop that winning mentality and build momentum going into the last bend of the tournament.”

UJ currently lie in 7th place on the log while the Ikeys lie 5th, and the Joburg side are coming off a big loss against Shimlas. UJ’s first game draw against Tuks must also be remembered, where they surprised the current champions. In terms of touring again and the skill of their opponents the coach said, “we love touring together and we are looking forward to bouncing back hard. UJ are obviously strong, and also have semi-final aspirations – so a test match awaits!”

The game kicks off at 19:00 on Monday, and will also be shown on Supersport.



FNB UCT: 15 Ross Jones-Davies, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Nicholas Holton, 11 Lihleli Xoli, 10 Dean Grant, 9 James Alexander, 8 Vince Yobo, 7 Shaun McDonald, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Robin Murray.

Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Msizi Zondi, 18 Kyle Kriel, 19 Guy Alexander, 20 Liam Slatem, 21 Martin Sauls, 22 Suwilanju Chibale, 23 David Maasch.