NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  Nic Groom   of Northampton Saints during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens on March 25, 2017 in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

10 Former Varsity Cup players Plying Their Trade Overseas

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The FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International not only provides a platform for players to go on to represent local franchises and the Springboks. Players have gone on to represent, Namibia, Scotland, England Sevens and currently, a number are thriving overseas.

  1. Duhan van der Merwe

After setting a new try-scoring record in a single Varsity Cup season last year, the former FNB Tuks winger can now be found bursting down the field for French Top 14 side Montpellier. Van der Merwe now plays alongside Springbok icon Pierre Spies, and got off to a running start to the campaign when he scored on his debut in France.

  1. Nic Groom

Having gone from playing for the FNB Ikey Tigers to the DHL Stormers, Groom traded the shores of Cape Town for England and now plays rugby for Northampton Saints Making it to the finals of the Varsity Cup in 2010, and going on to win the competition in 2011, Groom hails the competition as being a key factor in his growth and development as a rugby player.

  1. Nick Fenton-Wells

Another former FNB Ikey Tigers player, Fenton-Wells was part of the title-winning side in 2011, a fitting end to his Varsity Cup career. He moved to England the following year, playing for Saracens before joining, and eventually captaining, Bedford Blues. He then controversially joined their rivals, Bristol Rugby.

  1. Marcel Brache

Playing alongside Groom and Fenton-Wells in the FNB Ikey Tigers’ successful 2011 FNB Varsity Cup campaign, Brache decided to make the move to Perth and signed on with the Western Force in 2013. Late last year, the American-born Brache was included in the USA national team for their three-game long November tour.

  1. Vincent Koch

Part of the FNB Tuks side that beat FNB Maties 29-21 in the 2012 Varsity Cup final, Koch didn’t leave the country as soon as his university career was over. Instead, he played for the Bulls, Pumas and the Stormers before deciding to make the move to England to join Saracens in 2016.

  1. Liam Slatem

Yet another player on this list to have played for the FNB Ikey Tigers, Slatem was captain of the side that pulled off the famous comeback in the 2014 final. Fast forward three years, and Slatem is the club captain of Hong Kong-based Hong Kong Cricket Club (HKCC). Having sat out a whole season due to an injury suffered a few seasons back, Slatem is looking forward to being eligible to play in Hong Kong’s November Test matches.

  1. Jono Ross

Having played for FNB Tuks in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Ross moved to England to play for Saracens for a season, before returning home to South Africa to play for the Blue Bulls. Then next season went well for Ross, as he was included in the Bulls’ Super Rugby squad and was also named captain of the side. However, in 2014, he moved to France, and now plays for Stade Français.

  1. Marnitz Boshoff

Coming up through the Blue Bulls youth team and playing for FNB Tuks, Boshoff played rugby in South Africa for five years after bowing out of the Varsity Cup. During this time, he played for the Bulls, Griquas and the Lions. Then, in 2016, he decided to join Connacht in Ireland, where he is currently playing under a two-year long contract.

  1. Jaco Taute

A member of the FNB UJ squad in 2010, Taute also represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championships in 2010 and 2011. Besides that, he played for the Lions, Stormers and Western Province, before moving to Ireland to play for Munster on what was originally meant to be a four-month contract. However, his contract has since been extended, keeping him at the club until June 2017.

  1. Marcel van der Merwe

The former FNB Shimlas captain, who became the first player to play in the Varsity Cup and play Test rugby during the same year, now spends his days playing for Toulon in France’s Top 14 league. The Welkom-born prop played for the Cheetahs and Blue Bulls before jetting off to France, where he has a contract that lasts until 2018.

By Wessley Thring

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