Maties are favourites to secure their third consecutive Varsity Cup title but remain wary of an Ikeys upset.
They say history speaks for itself. If so, Maties are destined to triumph against Ikeys. UCT have only beaten Stellenbosch once in all three campaigns (a 38-34 win in 2008) while Maties have won the last three clashes, including the 16-10 victory in the 2008 final.
However, the Cape derbies have always been close contests. Earlier this season, the game was in the balance until the final minute. Ikeys were a few passes away from a match-winning try near the posts, but prop Ashley Wells lost the ball forward in their final attack, handing Maties the win.
Maties head coach Chean Roux realises the challenge Ikeys bring.
‘They’re a side that flourish in broken play as they like to throw the ball around,’ Roux told keo.co.za. ‘They also have a great pack of forwards and can easily put together five or six phases on attack.
‘We will need a structured approach. We have a good pack of forwards and they connect well with the backline.
‘We had our injuries this season, we lost about five centres and we lost guys like Conrad Hoffman to the WP Vodacom Cup side. But Andre Kemp has been a star for us, especially with his goal kicking.’
Roux added there will be no pressure on his Maties team.
‘We prepare the same for any other game. We haven’t even mentioned the word final for the last week, so there will be no extra pressure on us,’ said Roux.
‘We will also have the backing of a capacity crowd. The tickets for the match were sold out last Tuesday already, so we expect about 20 000 fans tonight [Monday].’
Meanwhile, UCT head coach John Dobson takes Ikeys’ underdog status as a positive.
‘We like it when no one gives us a chance,’ said Dobson. ‘We hear that it’s going to be a cricket score for them. I must confess, I don’t think it will be.
‘We are very excited about Monday and the whole occasion but we know we are up against a juggernaut of a side that has broken all records. They are a quality, quality outfit.’
Maties – 15 Adnaan Oesman, 14 Wilhelm Loock, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Charl Weideman, 11 Tythan Adams, 10 André Kemp, 9 Johan Herbst, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Jonathan Adendorf, 6 Sam Mabombo, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Andrew Prior, 3 Lourens Adriaanse (c), 2 Matthew Dobson, 1 Johan Roets.
Subs: 16 Gareth Light, 17 Mike De Neuilly-Rice, 18 Marinus Pretorius, 19 Cameron Peverett, 20 Johan Laker, 21 Hayden Groepes, 22 Jonathan Francke, 23 Andrew Crausaz.
UCT – 15 Therlow Pietersen, 14 Pete Haw, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Sean van Tonder, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Stu Commins, 8 JJ Gagiano, 7 Mike Morris, 6 Nick Fenton-Wells (c), 5 Donovan Armand, 4 Levi Odendaal, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Mark Goosen, 1 Ash Wells.
Subs: 16 Matt Page, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Mike Ledwidge, 19 Sam Peter, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Douglas Mallett, 22 Mark Esterhuizen, 23 Wesley Chetty.
Venue: Danie Craven Stadium
By Gareth Duncan