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'We had absolutely no clue what we were in for'

FNB Varsity Cup

John Dobson coached the FNB UCT Ikeys in the first-ever FNB Varsity Cup match against NWU Pukke (now the Eagles) on 18 February 2008 with his team going on to contest the final against FNB Maties.

On Monday, the 500th FNB Varsity Cup match will take place at the UCT Rugby Fields (19:00, SuperSport channel 211) between the hosts and FNB Maties.

Dobson, the current Stormers coach, remembers the first FNB Varsity Cup match – and season – in 2008 like it was yesterday.

‘We had absolutely no clue what we were in for,’ he tells ‘Pukke had dominated SAU Week the week before as well as the FNB Superbowl, in which we had struggled. Their players were massive. We were very much an amateur varsity side.'

Dobson’s men lost that first FNB Varsity Cup game 23-17 but did not suffer another league-stage defeat on their way to topping the log.

However, because the floodlights at UCT were not adequate for a TV broadcast, the final against second-placed FNB Maties was moved to the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.

‘We beat Maties in the league stage [38-34] and in the final against them we were leading by a point and had the ball after the hooter. But we lost possession and Maties scored a try.

‘We probably deserved to win that final but were proud of our first year nonetheless. It was an exceptional campaign for a team with our limited player and financial resources.’

ALSO READ: 500 games later – Where are FNB Varsity Cup stars now?

Interview by Ayanda Frances Felem


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