|Killer blow: NMMU’s Bradley Kretzman lines up the kick – after the 19th penalty against the Ikeys – that broke UCT hearts.||Pic worth a thousand words: Too often against NMMU, UCT’s handling let them down.|
Kevin Foote is not convinced that the UCT Ikeys’ shock 21-23 defeat to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Madibaz in the FNB Varsity Cup on Monday was entirely his players’ fault.
Sure, they fumbled the ball more times than a certain past American president did his lines, but as to those 19 penalties his side conceded – well, that’s another matter. The coach thinks that perhaps the referee gave the Ikeys a raw deal.
“The handling errors I feel are a result of the guys putting pressure on themselves,” he says. “When a referee is blatantly blowing us out of the game, the team gets pressurised into forcing the ‘magical move’ instead of staying calm, and patient.”
It’s not a mistake Foote will have his team make again.
The side would be consulting a Varsity Cup referee this week, reported Foote, to help them understand the decisions that went against them, and so be better prepared for similar scenarios in upcoming matches.
“If we do this and are allowed to play our style of exciting running rugby, I believe opposition will battle against us, and we will still be able to qualify for a semi.”
UCT’s loss in Port Elizabeth, their third defeat of the tournament, has left them in seventh spot, five points off fourth-placed North-West University’s Pukke. Hopes of a knockout berth hang by a thread, and the Tigers will need to get back to their winning ways, pronto.