Those of us fortunate to have played on the Green Mile know how it creeps into your heart. We ask a few of the current crop what it means to them to be an Ikey rugby player.

Prior to the 2021 Varsity Cup final against Tukkies, coach Tom Dawson-Squid asked the squad to open up to the team about times when they feel like champions. Start with “I am a champion when …” said Tom. 

Now obviously those were private thoughts that remain in that room, but given how many stories included how special being an Ikey Tiger was to each player, we asked a few of the current squad to tell us about what it means to them to be an Ikey Tiger. 

We are hoping for this to be the first in a series of articles chatting to Ikeys of different eras …

Taariq Kruger (loose forward)

Coming out of high school is quite daunting, and going to an unfamiliar place where you don’t know anyone really pushes you out of your comfort zone. However, as scary as that may have been, the Ikey Tigers provided me with a safe space where I felt comfortable enough to express myself, together with a sense of brotherhood and unity. Through the club I have formed friendships and memories which I will cherish for a lifetime. UCT has laid the foundation for the rest of my life, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

Luthando Woji (loosehead prop and current club vice-captain)

To me, the Ikey Tigers brings different people from different walks of life into an environment focused on high performance. I’d like to think that I’m a team man and that the collective comes before the individual. Yet at the same time, I’m competitive and want to improve myself so that I can contribute to the collective. The inclusivity at UCT is what sets the club apart from other clubs. I know it sounds clichéd, but there’s a sense of brotherhood at The Mile where both teammates and staff feel like family.

Josh Carew (forwards coach)

I’m a champion for UCT when I am absolutely 100%, Josh Carew. For many in the room, Ikeys means something, and I have your unwavering backing. But for everyone else in this competition (Varsity Cup), it means very little. I am a champion when I believe in myself, believe that I’m the best, and act upon that belief. I stand tall. I stand confident. And I stand proud. Of who I am, who I’m associated with and everything that we have achieved.

William “Rosie” Rose (scrumhalf)

Being a part of the Ikeys and UCT is a special feeling. We are a defiant bunch of mates who enjoy playing an exciting, yet quality brand of rugby, while making memories together. It’s an environment where everyone can be themselves, and express themselves freely. To me, it’s like a home away from home.

Seth Christians (loosehead prop)

The Ikeys is a special place, with amazing players both on and off the field. They took me in after high school as a novice rugby player with a burning desire to get better… And gave me so much more. They believed in me. The lessons learnt, and growth accumulated is indescribable. I could speak all day about how much they’ve contributed to improving my rugby, but more importantly they’ve given me three values to live my life by: #competealways, #relationshipsmatter, #wearereal. They have shown me how to lead a life with integrity, strong character, and most importantly, how to be a genuinely great person, both on and off the field.

Le Roux Malan (centre)

“UCT to me means to belong. Ever since I came to UCT there hasn’t been one instance where I felt excluded. I met the weirdest, funniest, most eccentric bunch of people you could possibly come across, and everyone truly loves each other for who they are. 

UCT allowed me to express who I am to myself and to others, without any judgement. It served as a platform not only to grow, but to improve my rugby confidence, and in general. It has offered me plenty of opportunities and connections which I will cherish for the rest of my life. 

UCT has provided me with independence for which my family and I will forever be grateful. It also provided newfound motivation and perspective. 

Another big part of why I love UCT Rugby is the fact that every player plays for the love of the game, regardless of the other obligations they have. And get done! Like Cranners (Ikey lock/loosie Byron Cranswick) would say: “Sports academics”. 

This environment is the best I have been part of by a country mile, and where I discovered a different kind of love for rugby. I can state that with all my heart.

Once an Ikey, Always a Tiger”

Rihaz Fredericks (centre/wing)

UCT represents an opportunity of a lifetime as there is no better place for me to showcase my talents, and let the world know what I am about.

Prior to the 2021 Varsity Cup final, we were asked to think about what makes us champions. I am who I am, and I know who I am, so I just stay true to myself and never stray too far from that. This gives me the power of authenticity, which enables the confidence I have within myself. I never take life too seriously, instead, enjoy each and every moment because I know that I will never get that moment back. Battling through the adversity that life has thrown my way has simply made me stronger, and I firmly believe that nothing external can affect the internal, no matter the circumstances or environment. I will come out on top because my internal has been tested on numerous occasions, and I have been successful. I have been successful because even when I lose, I never really lose, I just learn from the lessons that the loss has taught me.

I am grateful and blessed to be at UCT and to be able to say that I play for the prestigious Ikey Tigers. It truly is a humbling experience being a part of a club I so dearly admired growing up, and I cannot wait for what the future has in store for me and the club as a whole. Once an Ikey, always a Tiger.

Does any of the above strike a chord?

Keen to let us know what being an Ikey Tiger means to you?

We would love to hear from you. Drop us an email.