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Ikeys' magic comeback

The FNB UCT Ikey Tigers' win in the 2014 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International final will long be remembered as one of the most dramatic comebacks of all time.

Trailing 33-15 with five minutes to go against FNB NWU-Pukke in Potchefstroom, the Ikeys scored three unanswered tries to claim a famous 39-33 victory that was almost beyond belief.

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Now the UCT RFC have brought out a book telling the story behind that incredible campaign which saw them claim their second Varsity Cup title.

In "Always believe in Magic" Professor Tim Noakes, Ikeys coach Kevin Musikanth and former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan tell the inspiring story of the UCT Ikey Tigers journey in the 2014 Varsity Cup.

“This is an incredibly inspiring book about overcoming the odds,” said Noakes, the eminent UCT Professor of Exercise and Sports Science, who is the hugely successful author of numerous publications; most recently he co-authored the bestselling The Real Meal Revolution.

As a mentor of the UCT Ikey Tigers, he worked closely with the coaches on mental preparation and assisted in strengthening the mindset of the players and management.

Noakes explained: “My key message is that the quality of your thinking determines the quality of your execution. Once a team decides and truly believes that it is going to win the game, it will play without the fear of error. And when that happens, the impossible becomes achievable.

For the past seven years I have preached this principle to successive generations of young UCT rugby players without ever encountering any contradictory evidence. The 2014 Varsity Cup final strengthened my faith in this idea in a way I could never have foreseen.”

Kaplan, the well-known South African rugby referee, is the most experienced match official in the history of the game. He returned to his alma mater UCT in 2014 when he became the Ikey Tigers’ assistant coach for player technical development, strategic thinking and referee matters.

“It’s one thing to say ‘I believe’ but it’s another thing to actually act it out. I’ve been a referee for 34 years and I‘ve watched rugby since a very early age but I cannot remember there ever being such a dramatic finale to a match and such an awesome comeback as the one we witnessed on that night in Potch on 7 April 2014,” he said.

Kevin Musikanth, who as UCT Head Coach and Director of Rugby masterminded the campaign, said: “Magic is around us all the time but it only becomes a reality for those who truly believe in it.”

* Always Believe in Magic – The Greatest Comeback of All Time (216 pages, including two colour sections), is published by UCT RFC

to order a copy of the book please click on



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