The FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International is in its sixth year after a highly successful inaugural competition in 2008. It is already a highlight on the rugby-mad South African’s sporting calendar.
This inter-university rugby competition sees eight of the country’s top universities go head-to-head to take home the title (and a substantial cash reward).
The participating universities include:
- University of Stellenbosch (FNB Maties)
- University of Cape Town (FNB Ikeys)
- University of Pretoria (FNB Tuks)
- North West University (FNB NWU-Pukke)
- University of Johannesburg (FNB UJ)
- University of Free State (FNB Shimlas)
- Wits University (FNB Wits)
- Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (FNB NMMU)
The eight teams play in a single round, followed by a semi-final and a final that determines the National University Champion. Varsity Cup is managed by an executive committee chaired by current SARU CEO Jurie Roux.
The Varsity Cup promotes entertaining rugby and to reward teams to score even more tries, we have introduced an adjusted scoring system: 5 points for a try as per normal, but a conversion counts 3 points and a penalty kick or drop goal 2 points. The result is that where traditionally a Team A scores a converted try for 7 points, Team B can stay close with two penalty kicks for 3 points each making it a 7:6 score.
With the Varsity Cup scoring the same scenario has a different result in that Team A's converted try counts for 8 points and Team B's two penalties only count 2 x 2 points making the score 8:4. An advantage for teams that look to score tries.
All the action happens on a Monday night.
A traditionally quiet night across SA, the Varsity Cup changes all that with a display of rugby at its entertaining best. It’s a celebration of the sport and all that it stands for – braai, beer and friendly rivalry, not to mention the non-stop action and young talent. For three months, no self-respecting rugby fan will be singing ‘I don’t like Mondays!)
The FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International is based on the very popular concept of NCAA College Football in the United States. If you’re not at a game, viewers can catch a minimum of two matches to be screened every Monday night on SuperSport for the duration of the competition.
FNB Varsity Shield
The FNB Varsity Shield is a second tier competition for 5 more universities that started in 2011. Starting in 2012, every second year there is a promotion / relegation round, in 2012 FNB TUT was relegated from the Varsity Cup, providing a chance for Varsity Shield winners FNB Wits to compete in the top flight. Runners up FNB CUT played a promotion match against FNB Ikeys, but lost, so did not qualify for the Cup. The two year period was decided upon to provide opportunity for the newly promoted team to establish themselves.
Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship
The other competition hosted by Varsity Cup (pty) ltd is the residence rugby of the 8 Varsity Cup universities. This is called the Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship and the best residence rugby side in the country is determined.
Varsity Young Guns
Lastly Varsity Cup also started the Varsity Young Guns competition in 2012, which are the under 20 teams of the Varsity Cup sides playing against each other.
A passion for rugby and the growth and development of our young players is the big driver behind this competition. Viva SA Rugby Viva!
The full Varsity Cup Board:
Chairman and Finances: Jurie Roux (Maties)
Sponsorships: Francois Pienaar
Legal: Marius Janse van Rensburg (Shimlas)
Marketing and Logistics: Mervyn Taylor (NWU-Pukke)
Co-opted member: Derrik Mathew (Steinhoff)
SARU: Mervin Green
USSA: Bongo Nontshinga
CEO: Duitser Bosman (Varsity Cup)