After handing FNB Shimlas their first home defeat since 2013, the FNB Ikey Tigers will be hoping to earn their third win of the 2017 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International when they travel to take on defending champions FNB Pukke.
“Beating Shimlas at home was a massive result, so it’s good to be the team that achieved that. I’m stoked for the boys – they stuck to their guns and delivered a mature eighty-minute performance,” said coach Christiaan Esterhuizen.
“Our defence has been consistently good, but we’re getting better and better with the ball in hand. The biggest change this season is our belief, because we really do believe that we can go out and get the results,” Esterhuizen added.
That belief, coupled with their defensive grit, has seen the team find their feet again just before a couple of challenging fixtures against FNB Pukke and FNB Maties. The stats show this too, revealing that in their last match, the FNB Ikey Tigers missed only eleven tackles in the muddy conditions, conceded even fewer penalties than in their match against FNB Madibas and had very few poor passes and dropped the ball on very few occasions. The team will also be boosted by captain Jason Klaasen’s return to the match day squad.
“We’ve definitely got a bit of confidence now, so we’re going into this match quite positive. We know it’s a big task and a tough venue to play at, but we’re up for the fight,” said Esterhuizen ahead of Monday’s game against FNB Pukke.
The defending champions sit one point above the FNB Ikey Tigers on the log, also having won two and lost one of their three Varsity Cup matches thus far. A win here could mean more than just the points, as returning home with a win could boost the FNB Ikey Tigers’ confidence even more ahead of their derby clash with FNB Maties.
FNB Ikey Tigers starting XV: 1 Wayrin Losper, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 4 Duncan Saffy, 5 Gary Porter, 6 Jason Klaasen (C), 7 Luke Stringer, 8 Nyasha Tarusenga, 9 Stefano de Gouveia, 10 Rob Anderson, 11 Joel Smith, 12 Rico Lategan, 13 Tristan Mouton, 14 Rayno Mapoe, 15 Lohan Lubbe.
Replacements: 16 Martin Chandler, 17 William Day, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazebuko, 19 Nama Xaba, 20 Sanele Malwane, 21 Alva Sendreyani, 22 Hilio De Abreu, 23 Gerard Pieterse.
By Wessley Thring