Amidst a rocky season for the FNB Ikey Tigers last season, their younger counterparts were a source of light as they embarked on an impressive undefeated streak. But now, with their domestic success of last season behind them, new players joining the club and some Under-20 players having moved up to the first team, the new-look FNB Ikey Tigers Young Guns side is enthusiastic ahead of their season opener against the FNB Maties Young Guns.
“We’ve had a pretty good preseason. We trained alongside the first team from late last year, but in January we went off on our own. We’ve lost a few players to the first team, so while we don’t have as many players as last season, we do have a squad of really nice quality,” coach Tom Dawson-Squibb said.
“The most important thing is that they’re enthusiastic when we chat to them about playing. One of the best things for us as coaches is the fact that they’ve bought into what we’re teaching them, whether it’s going on a camp or singing in a choir or learning breathing exercises. We’re trying to teach them the power of teamwork,” he added.
Coach Dawson-Squibb believes in respecting one’s abilities, and in this case, he believes his players can do so by giving their best out on the field. “We want to go out and give an account of who we are. Our goals are based around our values; we want to better the boys not only as players, but people too,” he said.
The FNB Ikey Tigers Young Guns will have their first opportunity to do so come Monday, when they travel to Stellenbosch to take on the FNB Maties Young Guns. While any game of rugby between the FNB Ikey Tigers and FNB Maties carries the weight of the rivalry between the two great clubs, this game looks like it may have an added dynamic.
“They’re really excited for this match. Some of our players were at the Western Province institute last season, and we know a lot of Maties’ players were there as well, so there will be a few friends playing against each other in this game,” Dawson-Squibb said.
By Wessley Thring