|Ball brawl: UCT Ikeys captain JJ Gagiano, with Dylan Rogers in support, tries to go around Eben Joubert of Tukkies.|
The Ikey Tigers blew away their opposition at UCT last Monday night, running in eight tries against a hapless-looking Tukkies (University of Pretoria) in their second FNB Varsity Cup league match.
The final score, 55-24, reflected a significant improvement on the first week's nervous start, when varsity went down 17-23 to Pukke (North-West University).
The FNB Varsity Cup is the brainchild of Rugby World Cup '95 icon Francois Pienaar. Targetting university players under 25, it bridges the gap between the amateur and professional arenas. Games are played on Monday nights, with some televised live by SuperSport.
Endorsed by SARU and SASSU, eight university clubs are participating. The concept was modelled on the successful college Monday Night Football league in the US.
"This competition should keep the next echelon of rugby players who are not entirely ready for the big scene yet, in the country, and help them develop their skills locally," said Pienaar, chair of the Varsity Cup board.
Last Monday night imposing winger "Marvellous Marvin" Christians scored four times as varsity were full of running, mixing it up and varying their play to keep Tukkies on the back foot.
Without the notorious Southeaster to contend with, the Ikeys added a strategic edge to their game with some deft kicking. Alas, they're still missing too many penalties and conversions.
But that didn't bother upbeat supporters. A good crowd turned up on a balmy late afternoon. Was it the rugby or the wafting aromas from the boerewors braai? A trio of cheerleaders introduced a new brand of rugby haute couture at the match.
With the game wrapped and sealed early in the second half, the Ikeys got a little sloppy towards the end, letting Tukkies in for a few easy last-gasp tries.
Perhaps they just couldn't keep their eyes off that scoreboard.
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