South Africa

Nowhere to hide in 2013

Mon, 21 Jan 2013 10:20
Varsity-cup-captains-2013 Jurie-roux-presser Oupa-mohoje-shimlas Victor-kruger-pukke
At least 18 of the 23 players must be full-time students
Quote-end

The 2013 Varsity Cup season will have an exciting air of unpredictability hanging over the main tournament.

Now in its sixth season, the 2013 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International remains the headline act of Varsity Rugby, with the three additional competitions - the Varsity Shield, the Varsity Young Guns and the Koshuisrugby [hostel] Championships - providing a more than able 'back-up' to the Cup.

UP-Tuks became the first northern winners in the Varsity Cup last season, but teams like last year's losing finalists, the Maties, will be waiting for the new champions in 2013.

Nollis Marais continues as coach in Pretoria, despite handing over Tuks' Carlton League reins, whilst the Maties - for the first time ever - will start the Varsity Cup without their canny mentor Chean Roux, former Springbok flyhalf Chris Rossouw having taken over in Stellenbosch.

Another former international player, Michael Horak (who won one cap for England in 2002), has joined the fray as the new Shimlas coach; meaning that every team in the history of the Varsity Cup has now had at least one change of coach since 2008.

Former Maties boss Roux and former Shimlas coach Jaco Swanepoel had both been part of the Varsity Cup furniture since 2008 but have joined the likes of John Dobson (UCT - now Western Province), Matthew Proudfoot (NWU-Pukke - now Stormers/WP) and Nollis Marais (UP-Tuks and Bulls) in having landed provincial coaching jobs - at senior or youth provincial level.

Marais, however, will continue as Tuks' coach during the Varsity Cup - with Bart Schoeman (who will assist Marais during the Varsity Cup) coaching the team during the Carlton League.

Of course, current Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was part of the UP-Tuks coaching staff in 2011 and Meyer's Bok predecessor, Peter de Villiers, has since landed a job as UWC's Coaching Director in the Varsity Shield.

Speaking at Monday's launch SARU CEO Jurie Roux said: "Without long-serving coaches like Chean and Jaco there is a different feeling in the air this year... a feeling of uncertainty, but all in a good way, of course.

"Losing two experienced coaches like Chean and Jaco would be a blow to anyone, but, at the same time, it gives new coaches an opportunity to make a name for themselves in a tough tournament like the Varsity Cup. Hopefully these new coaches will stay in their jobs for a long period and add value at a higher level in SA Rugby in years to come.

"There is plenty to play for, for everyone, in what is set to be one of the most open Varsity Cup tournaments since the inaugural tournament kicked-off in 2008. It's an exciting phase for us, as organisers, with all the new faces and we look forward to seeing how it plays out in the 2013 season - in the Cup, Shield, Young Guns and Koshuis tournaments."

SARU CEO Jurie Roux, Chairman of the Varsity Cup Board, commented: "The Varsity Cup is a well-organised tournament and such an asset to SA Rugby in giving so many new young talents the opportunity to showcase their abilities. We're all looking forward to another exciting and successful year of Varsity Rugby."

The 2013 Varsity Rugby action will get underway at the end of January with the Varsity Shield tournament kicking-off on January 28.

Defending Varsity Cup champions, UP-Tuks, will get their Varsity Cup title defence off to a tricky start when they travel to Potchefstroom to take on the NWU-Pukke on Monday, February 4 at 7pm.

In a slight change to the schedule this year there will be two finals weeks in the 2013 Varsity Rugby competition. April 1 will see the Varsity Shield and Young Guns Finals take place, followed by two more finals the next week; the Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships Final and the Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International Final - both of which will take place on Monday, April 8.

The much talked-about points-scoring system of two points for a penalty and a drop-goal and three points for a conversion, which was first trialled last year, will continue in 2013.

* Eighty-two matches are set to take place across four different competitions in the 2013 Varsity Rugby season - as the Cup, Shield, Young Guns and Koshuis tournaments get set to combine to form the biggest student-based rugby competition in the world.

Back in 2008, the inaugural Varsity Cup began midway through February and ended in the first week of April, but these days the Varsity Rugby action will get underway at the end of January with the Varsity Shield tournament kicking-off on January 28, 2013.

In a slight change to the schedule, meanwhile, there will be two finals weeks in the 2013 Varsity Rugby competition. April 1 will see the Varsity Shield and Young Guns Finals take place, followed by two more finals the next week; the Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships Final and the Varsity Cup Final - both of which will take place on Monday, April 8.

Duitser Bosman, the Varsity Cup Managing Director, explained: "We have a unique fixtures tool, developed by top mathematicians, which allows us, fairly, to draw up the new fixtures taking all permutations and the Varsity Cup constitution into account."

Twenty-three matches will be televised and Bosman revealed: "It's written into our constitution that the top two teams from the previous seasons would have five matches televised, teams three and four would have four televised games, teams five and six would get three opportunities on television and the seventh- and eighth-placed sides would get two games on TV.

"Thus, Tuks and the Maties will head up the list of televised matches... but it's also pretty exciting to have a new team, in the shape of Wits, the Varsity Shield winners, in the Cup competition."

This is the sixth season of Varsity Cup and Koshuisrugby action, with eight universities taking part in both competitions. The Varsity Shield first began in 2011, with five teams competing, and the Varsity Young Guns tournament - a students-only, Under-20 competition - joined the fray last year for the first time.

Wits will, for the first time, feature in the Varsity Cup in 2013, having won promotion as Varsity Shield winners last year. The TUT Vikings, the Wooden Spoonists in the 2012 Varsity Cup, will play in the Varsity Shield, whilst 2011 Varsity Cup winners, UCT, staved off relegation in 2013 by beating Varsity Shield runners-up, CUT, in their promotion/relegation clash on the 2012 Finals Day.

The addition of Wits also adds another mouth-watering local derby to the Varsity Rugby calendar, with the all-Johannesburg battle between Wits and UJ taking place at the Wits Rugby Stadium in Round Four (Monday, February 25 - 4.45pm).

The match will be televised and will rival the all-Cape derby between the Maties and UCT (which takes place in Round Five - March 4) in terms of popularity and fervour.

* Whilst rugby continues to be the main focus in the four Varsity Rugby competitions - as one would expect - academics remain a close second priority for tournament organisers.

All Varsity Cup and Shield matchday squads have to boast an active student count of 78% (at least 18 out of the 23 players in the matchday squads), and these students' results and attendances will be strictly monitored throughout the year.

The Young Guns and Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships tournaments continue to be students-only affairs, giving the eight Cup teams an opportunity to build more 'student depth' for years to come.

Academic results from 2012 will also matter, as full-time students must have passed at least 30% of last year's subjects to be allowed to play this year (as a full-time student). Also, a player that has not passed Grade 12 cannot play in any Varsity Rugby tournaments - even as a non-student.

"We need students that are mentors on the field and off the field in the classrooms to play in our Varsity Rugby competitions," said Varsity Cup Managing Director Duitser Bosman.

"There is a life after rugby," he added. "We don't want our players to be part of the lost generation of players that thought they could make a life out of rugby only to end up with nothing to fall back on.

"The aim of the Varsity Cup, and now the Shield and Young Guns tournaments too, has always been about developing better human beings and keeping the focus on academics will hopefully result in the development of more-rounded rugby players and young men."

Varsity Rugby student regulations:
* At least 18 of the 23 players in the Varsity Cup and Shield matchday squads must be full-time students, with a minimum pass rate
* All 23 players in the Young Guns and Koshuis matchday squads must be full-time students, also with a minimum pass rate

Schedule:

Varsity Cup - February 4 to April 8, 2013:

Monday, February 4:
Maties v UJ, Danie Craven Stadium - 4.45pm (TV)
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds - 7pm (TV)
UCT v NMMU, UCT Rugby Fields - 7pm
Wits v Shimlas, Wits Rugby Stadium - 7pm

Monday, February 11:
UP-Tuks v UCT, Tuks Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm (TV)
NMMU v Wits, NMMU Stadium - 7pm (TV)
UJ v NWU-Pukke, UJ Stadium - 7pm
Shimlas v Maties, Xerox Shimla Park - 7pm

Monday, February 18:
Shimlas v UP-Tuks, Xerox Shimla Park - 4.45pm (TV)
Maties v NMMU, Danie Craven Stadium - 7pm (TV)
Wits v NWU-Pukke, Wits Rugby Stadium - 7pm
UCT v UJ, UCT Rugby Fields - 7pm

Monday, February 25:
Wits v UJ, Wits Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm (TV)
UP-Tuks v Maties, Tuks Rugby Stadium - 7pm (TV)
NWU-Pukke v UCT, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground - 7pm
NMMU v Shimlas, NMMU Stadium - 7pm

Monday, March 4:
UCT v Maties, UCT Rugby Fields - 4.45pm (TV)
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke, Xerox Shimla Park - 7pm (TV)
UP-Tuks v Wits, Tuks Rugby Stadium - 7pm
NMMU v UJ, NMMU Stadium - 7pm

Monday, March 11:
NWU-Pukke v NMMU, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground - 4.45pm (TV)
UJ v UP-Tuks, UJ Stadium - 7pm (TV)
Shimlas v UCT, Xerox Shimla Park - 7pm
Wits v Maties, Wits Rugby Stadium - 7pm

Monday, March 18:
UJ v Shimlas, UJ Stadium - 4.45pm (TV)
Maties v NWU-Pukke, Danie Craven Stadium - 7pm (TV)
NMMU v UP-Tuks, NMMU Stadium - 7pm
UCT v Wits, UCT Rugby Fields - 7pm

Monday, March 25:
Semifinal One: Log position 1 v Log position 4 - 4.30pm (TV)
Semifinal Two: Log position 2 v Log position 3 - 7pm (TV)

Monday, April 8:
Final: Semifinal winner One v Semifinal winner Two - 7pm (TV)

Varsity Shield - January 28 to April 1, 2013:

Monday, January 28:
UKZN v UFH, Peter Booysen Sports Park - 4.45pm (TV)
UWC v TUT, UWC Sport Stadium - 7pm (TV)
Bye: CUT

Thursday, January 31:
CUT v UWC, CUT Rugby Stadium - 7pm
TUT v UKZN, TUT Stadium - 7pm
Bye: UFH

Monday, February 4:
UFH v TUT, Davidson Rugby Stadium - 7pm
UKZN v CUT, Peter Booysen Sports Park - 7pm
Bye: UWC

Monday, February 11:
CUT v UFH, CUT Rugby Stadium - 7pm
UWC v UKZN, UWC Sport Stadium - 7pm
Bye: TUT

Monday, February 18:
TUT v CUT, TUT Stadium - 7pm
UFH v UWC, Davidson Rugby Stadium - 7pm
Bye: UKZN

Monday, February 25:
UFH v UKZN, Davidson Rugby Stadium - 7pm
TUT v UWC, TUT Stadium - 7pm
Bye: CUT

Monday, March 4:
UWC v CUT, UWC Sport Stadium - 7pm
UKZN v TUT, Peter Booysen Sports Park - 7pm
Bye: UFH

Monday, March 11:
TUT v UFH, TUT Stadium - 7pm
CUT v UKZN, CUT Rugby Stadium - 7pm
Bye: UWC

Monday, March 18:
UFH v CUT, Davidson Rugby Stadium - 7pm
UKZN v UWC, Peter Booysen Sports Park - 7pm
Bye: TUT

Monday, March 25:
CUT v TUT, CUT Rugby Stadium - 7pm
UWC v UFH, UWC Sport Stadium - 7pm
Bye: UKZN

Monday, April 1:
Final: Log position 1 v Log position 2 - 4.45pm (TV)

Koshuisrugby Championships - February 18 to April 8, 2013:

Monday, February 18:
Maties v NMMU, Danie Craven Stadium - 4.45pm
Wits v Shimlas, Wits Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm

Monday, February 25:
Wits v UJ, Wits Rugby Stadium - 3pm
UP-Tuks v Maties, Tuks Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm
NWU-Pukke v NMMU, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds - 4.45pm

Monday, March 4:
UCT v UJ, UCT Rugby Fields - 3pm

Monday, March 11:
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds - 3pm
Shimlas v UCT, Xerox Shimla Park - 4.45pm

Monday, March 18:
UJ v Shimlas, UJ Stadium - 3pm
Maties v NWU-Pukke, Danie Craven Stadium - 4.45pm
NMMU v UP-Tuks, NMMU Stadium - 4.45pm
UCT v Wits, UCT Rugby Fields - 4.45pm

Monday, March 25:
Pool 1 v Pool 2 - TBA
Pool 1 v Pool 2 - TBA

Monday, April 8:
Final: Semifinal winner One v Semifinal winner Two - 4.45pm (TV)

Varsity Young Guns - February 18 to April 1, 2013:

Monday, February 18:
Shimlas v UP-Tuks, Xerox Shimla Park - 3pm
UCT v NMMU, UCT Rugby Fields - 4.45pm

Monday, February 25:
NWU-Pukke v Wits, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds - 4.45pm
NMMU v Maties Juniors, NMMU Stadium - 4.45pm

Monday, March 4:
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke, Xerox Shimla Park - 4.45pm
UP-Tuks v Wits, Tuks Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm
NMMU v UJ, NMMU Stadium - 4.45pm
UCT v Maties Juniors, UCT Rugby Fields - 7pm

Monday, March 11:
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds - 3pm
UJ v UCT, UJ Stadium - 4.45pm
Wits v Shimlas, Wits Rugby Stadium - 4.45pm

Monday, March 18:
Maties Juniors v UJ, Danie Craven Stadium - 3pm

Monday, March 25:
Semifinal One: Log position 1 v Log position 4 - TBA
Semifinal Two: Log position 2 v Log position 3 - TBA

Monday, April 1:
Final: Semifinal winner One v Semifinal winner Two - 7pm (TV)

RELATED ARTICLES
Newsletter Subscription
Subscribe now to Rugby365 and you'll be able to receive our informative newsletters and access special promotions.