Brave NTK come close to causing upset

NTKs Steve Mabengi Enagani tries to force matters during his sides tough loss to UCT at NNK Stadium at the weekend. The final score was 45-33 in favour of the students.

picture: buntu gotywa

It was always going to be tough for the Parow-based Red Devils to get the better of the in-form UCT. The Super League A newcomers, however, played more like seasoned campaigners and came agonisingly close to causing an upset.

And, despite the scoreline, the match was a tight affair, with NTK having answers to all the questions posed by the students.

NTKareunderstandably aggrieved by the outcome, as a win against UCT would have played a massive role in boosting the side’s confidence.

Scoring five tries against a tough defensive opponent like UCT should be worth more than solitary point NTK got, as they are the first side to score that many points against the students this season.

The Ikeys are the same side that beat SLA heavyweights and fellow students Maties earlier this season.

The Ikey Tigers were upset by False Bay RFC in last weekend’s fixture with their first loss of the season and bounced back against SK Walmer with a 29-15 win.

At the halfway stage of the season, NTK see themselves seated at the bottom half of the table with 14 points.

However, if their latest performance is to be taken to account, they should finish the campaign safely in mid-table.

Despite the disappointment, NTK coach, Wessel Kriel had nothing but praise for how side managed to take the game to the Ikeys.

“We should have won the game and it would surely have been a huge upset as UCT beat Maties earlier in the year and lost 14-10 to False Bay. I am proud of my team, luck unfortunately does not seem to go our way.”

UCT have proven to be lineout specialists this season and it is one area the side seem to alway try to exploit against their opponents.

“We struggled immensely in lineout time, UCT has a great lineup system in place. We lost six of our own lineouts which is inexcusable.

“Own set phases are key areas to succeed and here we let ourselves down big time.

“We are, however, happy with our scrum and breakdown control but scatter defence and more effective ball carrying support needs some attention.”

The next fixture for the Red Devils is the unpredictable SK Walmer away at Green Point track and Kriel says his side are aware of the importance of coming away with points in this fixture.

“We need to be clinical at our set phases and try and dominate the breakdown effectively. Our one-on-one tackles need to be on par.

“SK is a well drilled team and although the scorelines have not been in their favour thus far, you can never underestimate them at home. We are expecting a tough forward battle,” said Kriel.

He called this fixture a must win encounter for his side. SK Walmer have a solitary win in their seven fixtures and will be desperate to find another victim before the league reaches the business end.

NTK will ease the pressure on themselves and get closer to their season target of a top half finish should they manage their third season win.