|Turn of pace: Ikey Tiger Marcello Sampson on his way to the try line in their semi-final 32-31win over Pukke in the inaugural FNB Varsity Cup. Next on the menu is an all-Cape final against Maties next Monday, venue and time to be decided|
If the Ikey Tigers don't make their degrees they can earn a good living pulling rabbits out of hats.
Monday's FNB Varsity Cup semi final proved that. At 31-29 down to Pukke, who beat the Ikeys in the opening match, it went down to the wire with a last-minute penalty.
Consider for a moment that the team was 17-0 down just 25 minutes into the game. But as Ikeys flyhalf Matt Rosslee lined up the deciding kick, it was so quiet you could hear ice clink in plastic glasses.
And then the stands erupted. Coach John Dobson emerged from hiding, to be embraced by UCT Rugby Club president, Dugald McDonald. Were there tears brimming?
A few minutes earlier, locked at 31-29, Rosslee's drop goal had popped off the post. The collective sigh from spectators (including Bok coach Peter de Villiers) summed it up. This was not to be the day. That numbing "choking" word hovered.
In sapping heat, the Ikeys had produced a somnambulistic performance in the first half, allowing Pukke in for two early tries. Early in the second half they were still down 31-10. With more possession and grit in the second half, the Ikeys struck three times, bringing the score to 31-29.
And then came the penalty.
"Tim Noakes has been talking a lot to us about self-belief," hero Rosslee said afterwards. "And I knew I was never going to miss the kick."
Tries: Mathew Turner (2); Mark Goosen and Marcello Sampson. Conversions: Matt Rosslee (4). Penalties: Matt Rosslee (2).
|Determination: Right winger Mathew Turner bursts towards the try line|
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