The Central University of Technology Ixias have received some welcome news ahead of the second bio-bubble of the 2021 Varsity Cup being played in Pretoria.
Following the first week of matches, the Ixias returned to Bloemfontein as the log-leaders, with three wins from their first matches.
The second block of fixtures in the competition will most certainly be their toughest yet, as they will be tackling Wits, Ikeys and Maties.
Following their hard-fought win over the UFS Shimlas in the Bloemfontein derby, the Ixias were sweating over the fitness of four players who had sustained injuries.
The Ixias head coach, Pieter Bergh, told Bloemfontein Courant that three of these players are fit to face Wits.
“We are really lucky this week. I was worried about four players who got injured during the Shimlas game. Three of them have recovered, so Janu Botha, Ricoman Titus and Niell Stannard are all available for selection and they will start.
“The only guy who didn’t recover, is Brendon Fortuin, but he should be available for the second match in the bubble against UCT.”
The tighthead prop, Botha, who was an injury concern, stressed the importance of doing well in this block of matches. While the Ixias don’t need to beat every team, it would help with the confidence and make matters easier towards the backend of the competition.
Botha told Bloemfontein Courant that they still want to top the standings although they only need to finish in the top four.
“The most important thing is to get into one of those semi-final spots and then work yourself into the final. Obviously you want to end at the top of the log and you want to win as many games as you can.
“We are rugby players and there is a form of pride that goes with it. Our goal is to end at the top of the log, but getting into the semi-final is the most important thing.”
The Ixias and Wits lock horns at 15:00 on Thursday afternoon on the Tuks B field. The winless Shimlas, in their turn, will be up against the Ikeys at 15:00 at Loftus Versfeld. – MORGAN PIEK