UCT Ikeys triumph at University World Cup
The Springboks may have started their Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign with defeat‚ but the University of Cape Town’s Ikey Tigers kept the South African flag flying in Japan.
The Ikeys team won the World University Rugby Cup for a second time following their success in Oxford‚ England four years ago.
Ikeys went undefeated through the week-long tournament‚ before beating French side Bordeaux University 17-3 in the final at the Kamiigusa Stadium in Tokyo.
In their first match‚ Ikeys defeated the University of British Columbia 40-0 (Canada)‚ followed by a 33-14 win against a combined New Zealand Universities team and a 52-0 thrashing of Bordeaux to set up a semi-final against Oxford University.
It was much tougher against their British opponents with Ikeys winning the semi-final 15-0 in hot and humid conditions.
“Winning back-to-back World University Rugby Cup titles is an indication of the strength not only of UCT rugby‚ but South African rugby on the whole‚” said UCT RFC Club Director Johnny Biderman-Pam.
“This Ikeys squad have come to Japan and made a huge statement on the international stage‚ setting the benchmark for university rugby world over.”
In addition to winning the World University Rugby Cup title‚ the Ikeys pinpointed watching the Springboks take on New Zealand in their Rugby World Cup opening fixture in Yokohama Stadium as a standout highlight of the tour.
Three former UCT rugby players - Siya Kolisi (captain)‚ Eben Etzebeth and Damian de Allende - formed part of the Springboks’ starting XV that lost 23-13 to the All Blacks.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity‚ to travel to another country‚ experience a different culture‚ play against some of the top university rugby clubs in the world‚ and watch your heroes play in the Rugby World Cup - it just doesn’t get better that this‚” Junior Springbok‚ Western Province and Ikey Tigers flanker Nama Xaba said.