The last time UCT and Pukke met in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International, it was packed with action. Pukke hosted UCT in last season’s final and it was Ikeys who came out top after scoring three tries in the last five minutes to claim their second title. Now the two sides meet again at the same venue on Monday night in Round Five of the Varsity Cup and both coaches admit that there is a lot riding on the game. Just one point separates Pukke and Ikeys from fourth and fifth position on the Varsity Cup table and Ikeys coach Kevin Musikanth thinks Monday’s meeting will live up to expectations: ‘I think it will definitely live up to the high intensity of our last meeting. The game has a lot of feeling, with two really good teams playing against each other.’
For Pukke’s coach, Robert Du Preez, there is much riding on Monday’s match, but knows it won’t be easy: ‘There is a lot riding on the game, with Ikeys being just one point behind us. We take things one game at a time and we want to take this opportunity to consolidate our standings and move up in the rankings. They are probably one of the most difficult sides to beat and it’s always tough to play against them no matter what the occasion’. Ikeys got their season off to somewhat of a shaky start, drawing to Maties and then losing to Tuks, but are fresh off two impressive wins which Musikanth says has given the team some momentum: ‘We lost a few of our core team players at the start of last season and we did struggle to gel. We’re off two good wins now and we have some momentum heading into the game.’ Varsity Cup has drawn some impressive crowd numbers this year, with capacity being reached at almost every match.
There is no doubt that the meeting between these two teams will be yet another sold out encounter and Musikanth believes the vigour of the home supporters adds another element to the match. Du Preez is counting on home ground advantage: ‘It’s always fantastic to play at home because our supporters are magnificent and I’m sure they’ll turn out in their numbers for this game. We are not thinking about revenge, though, it will be stupid to go into a match with a revenge mind set, we just want to take things one game at a time.’
Photo credit: Mario Van De Wall