Yesterday, the Ikey Tigers overpowered NMMU 40-13 on a windy Green Mile, in Round Three of the Varsity Cup.
Ikey’s coach Kevin Musikanth was bursting with pride given his side’s performance, which many will see as a come-back of sorts, given the team’s loss against Tuks in Round Two.
With the win, the Ikeys maintain their defence of the Monte Taljaard trophy. In the post-match award ceremony, Monte's sister Beth Poh was there to hand over the trophy to the team, and thanked UCT for keeping her brother's memory alive.
In terms of any change in attitude during the NMMU game, the coach said, “The team really wanted to prove themselves last night and embraced the challenge of making up for the poor start against Tuks by coming out firing.”
The Tigers were the first to draw blood, with a try by fly-half Warren Seals early on. Musikanth went on to explain that, “It was excellent getting a good start and seeing the Ikey pride come through. The meaning with which the boys played made us all, as coaches, very proud.”
NMMU made their way deep into UCT territory in response, but they could not find touch as their handling let them down.
With the score-line reading 16-8 at half time, competition between the two sides was fierce. “This competition is a very tough one, and all teams have the ability to turn it on at any given time,” said the coach. “NMMU are a good side and never stopped playing despite at one stage being more than three scores behind – which is testament to the quality of the Varsity Cup.”
UCT had the wind at their backs in the second half and charged into the visitor’s territory with determination. They had the bonus point before long as Guy Alexander first forced his way over from short range, followed by Jason Klaasen scoring from a driving maul to – giving them a comfortable 32-8 lead.
The ruthless Cape Town wind was in true form on Monday night. This, however, was kept in mind by the Ikeys preparation for the match. “The wind is always a factor in the game so for us and the way in which the boys stuck to plan was impressive – we kept it simple and managed the game, working well into the wind in the first half,” said Musikanth.
With an impressive performance given by the Tigers’ scrum pack, their coach was sure to comment: “The front row of Joel Carew, Chad Solomons and Digby Webb really dominated up front, and Locks jade Kriel and James Kilroe worked hard throughout the game. While it was a complete team performance, one has to mention the pack in terms of the way we dominated the set phases.”
He also praised the efforts of fly-half Seals for an exceptional game, ‘scrum doctor’ Paul Day, and lineout coach Ed O’Sullivan, as well as Hanyani Shimange for his technical and tactical guidance and mentorship.
All in all, said Musikanth, “We are starting to gel nicely and that is hugely positive. The boys enjoyed their team performance and our campaign is now back on track.”
Next up, the Tigers take on CUT in another thrilling home fixture, before two successive away games.