Tigers can adapt their stripes
VARSITY CUP REACTION: For the past few years, UCT-Ikey Tigers have been a side who plays an attractive brand of rugby, however, they were forced to adapt their usual running game to a kicking one. Tauriq Ebrahim reports.
A heavy downpour before kick-off forced the teams to reassess their initial game plan and it was the Cape students who managed to do that by blowing Shimlas away 22-7.
"There was quite a downpour before the start of the game and I think we adapted to the conditions much better on the day. Our kickers were phenomenal and managed to pin them inside their 22 and we weren't too extravagant by running the ball.
"We shifted to dominate the territory and kill Shimlas strong point of building momentum off their strong ball carriers. They tried it for the first 20 minutes but our defence stifled them and they were unable to get that momentum.
"They tried to change their tactics by kicking the ball but by that time, it was too late for them to come back into the game. If I think back to two weeks ago [against the Madibaz], we never used the conditions to our benefit. So we took that lesson, were mature in our approach, and stuck to it for 80 minutes [against Shimlas].
"A victory in Bloemfontein is a massive achievement when you consider that Shimlas have had a pretty good home record since 2013," head coach Christiaan Esterhuizen told rugby365.com.
The competition does not get easier for the Ikeys though as they now head north to face NWU-Pukke in Potchefstroom - a side who are hurting following their 9-31 thrashing at the hands of Maties in Stellenbosch in Round Three.
"[Playing against] Pukke in Potchefstroom is definitely going to be hard and hopefully we will have good conditions that will allow both teams to play a free-flowing game.
"Pukke are an experienced side with a lot of players from last year. They are a formidable team with players who have First Division experience - so their defence, setpiece and attack will be good - and for me, they are the most balanced side in the competition," he added.
UCT will receive a boost ahead of the fixture though as captain Jason Klaasen returns to the squad after serving a one match ban following a red card he received against CUT-ixias in Round Two.
By Tauriq Ebrahim