FNB CUT Ixias start their 2017 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International season off with two away matches – the first they lost in the dying moments against FNB UCT in Cape Town, but in their second match, facing FNB Wits in Johannesburg, they urgently need a win to get their campaign onto the right track.
Although FNB Wits are now back in the Varsity Cup, the home side will not be pushovers. FNB Wits lost their two opening encounters of the season against FNB Shimlas (home) and FNB Maties (away), but have shown true grit and passion in both the losses.
Former FNB Ixias coach and current manager, Skillie Bester, warned that FNB Wits would be very difficult on their home ground.
“Wits has a powerful pack of forwards and, as a team, they know exactly what to do on the field.
“We need to be at our very best on Monday, or we may also end up winless after our first two matches of the season, in the tenth year of the Varsity Cup,” Bester cautioned.
A major setback has hit the Ixias from FNB CUT, following the FNB UCT Ikeys battle at a windy Green Mile last Monday. The clash has taken a heavy toll on the Bloemfontein boys.
“Our captain and loose forward, Dean Rossouw, picked up an injury, although we hope to have him ready by next week. Our star fullback, Darren Adonis, who scored both our tries against UCT, and centre Fiela Nel were also injured and have to be replaced,” Bester said.
The injured Fiela Nel (centre) is also replaced by Clinton Toua, who returns after a year, recovering from the leg fracture he suffered in FNB CUT’s historic win over FNB UCT last year, in Bloemfontein. In that match, Toua scored the winning try.
“We do however believe that we have the depth to achieve our primary goal in Johannesburg, namely return to Bloem with five match points,” Bester added.
Matches between FNB Wits and FNB CUT have always brought out the best in both teams, even since the days of the Varsity Shield. This match should prove to be yet another classic encounter of varsity rugby – merciless up front and exciting, explosive backline attacks for the full 80 minutes. Both teams will realise that the loser of this match will cover the bottom spot on the log by Monday evening.
The match kicks off at 16:45 and is televised live on SuperSport 201.
The FNB CUT Ixias starting XV: 15. Denver Klue, 14. Mosego Toolo, 13. Waldo Putter, 12. Clinton Toua, 11. Tsitetso Madonsela, 10. Martin Jacobs, 9. Ruben Heymans, 8. Stefan Kruger, 7. Sylvester Makakole, 6. Dean Rossouw (Capt), 5. Rayno Nel, 4. André Venter, 3. Henco Smit, 2. Theuns Truter, 1. Jean Volkwyn.
Replacements: 16. Stefan Jacobs, 17. Kabous van Schalkwyk, 18. Kyle Ess, 19. Kian Skippers, 20. Dean Jacobs, 21. Dian Dry, 22. Ruan Wasserman and 23. Denzil Fiff.
By Carel Korff