The FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International is entering into an exciting period as it celebrates a decade of producing rocking rugby, in 2017. The university rugby competition promises to continue to keep the nation entertained. Unique match-day competitions bring the fans closer to the game through exciting, innovative and entertaining activations. Nine of the country’s top universities do battle over eleven weeks for the coveted Varsity Cup title. Each team will play four home and four away matches with the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals.
This premier rugby competition is proudly sponsored by FNB, Steinhoff International and Steers.
The 2017 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International kicks off on 30 January. The tenth edition of this prestigious university rugby tournament, has grown from eight universities in 2008 to 16 universities 2017.
New competitors for 2017
2017 sees three new universities to the FNB Varsity Shield presented by Steinhoff International. The addition of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (FNB CPUT), Rhodes University (FNB Rhodes), and Walter Sisulu University (FNB WSU) sees Varsity Shield grow from five teams to seven, while 2016 Varsity Shield winners, FNB Wits, re-join Varsity Cup after a few seasons of absence, growing Varsity Cup from eight to nine.
“There is definitely excitement from the three new universities,” said Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi, Varsity Cup Manager. “There is a long-standing rivalry between the University of Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu University, both rugby-mad universities, and we can’t wait to see what they will deliver this season.”
The Western Cape now boasts with four teams in the tournament; two teams in Varsity Cup (FNB Maties and FNB UCT), and two teams in Varsity Shield (FNB UWC and FNB CPUT), while the Eastern Cape sports one team in Varsity Cup (FNB Madibaz) and three in Varsity Shield (FNB UFH, FNB WSU and FNB Rhodes).
This year Varsity Cup also welcomes a brand new sponsor, Steers, to the competition, as well as a new media partner in 5FM. Both brands have a vested interest in the South African youth market and will help Varsity Cup amplify the youth sport and cultural development activities.
Unique Rules for 2017
Varsity Cup has always been at the forefront of introducing and experimenting with new rules and this year updates to the rules include:
Bonus Point Try
The bonus point try has been reviewed, and the nine-point try has been disregarded. This year only a seven-point try and a five-point try will apply. The seven-point try will be awarded to the team who scores a try originating from their own half, while the five-point try will be awarded if the try originates in the opposition’s s to half. Conversions will remain at two points (this applies to Varsity Cup competition only and not Varsity Shield, Koshuis Rugby and Young Guns).
Red Card Rule
The red card rule is a new rule that will be implemented in the 2017 season. If a red card is given to a player, which player will leave the field immediately, and his team will play with 14-men for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes any other player in the final match day squad may return to the field, apart from the player who received the red card. This rule will only apply to Varsity Cup.
Other rules exclusive to Varsity Cup include the white card rule, strategy breaks, free catch rule, 23-player match day squads, defending nine offside rule, mauling, and scrumming laws. All players are required to abide by the current Regulations of World Rugby and the Constitution and Regulations of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), which include Bok Smart Regulations, as well as that of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International.
Simon Riekert #paletoe