The Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby Championships presented by FNB, is one of the greatest success stories of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International in the past 10 years. And in 2017 the competition is growing to two tiers.
Residences across campuses in South Africa are filled rich histories of tradition, rivalry, camaraderie and academic excellence. Small communities made up of students and loyal alumni become tight-knit families wearing their res colours with pride, belting out songs that have long echoed through the walls of their ‘koshuis’ buildings.
In many ways this encapsulates precisely what the Varsity Cup is all about, just on a smaller, but far wider scale. And Steinhoff international have amplified this by identifying the opportunity to make a tangible difference in each residence of the 16 universities taking part in the Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield competitions.
Long after the Varsity Cup champions are crowned, rugby action continues on campus as each university hosts its internal Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby league. The winners of those leagues represent their universities in the following Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby Championship season.
It’s an impact not only on 16 university teams, but hundreds in each internal league. And it’s grown. In 2017 three new universities joined the Varsity Shield, which means three more internal koshuis leagues.
And the addition of FNB Wits to Varsity Cup, has brought with it the addition of their Steinhoff Titans team into the Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby Premiership.
“Steinhoff’s investment and support, together with the other sponsors, is making a difference in each and every rugby player’s life – even the player who is in two minds about pursuing a career in rugby,” says Ajee Valentine, of Steinhoff International.
“We (Steinhoff) are giving the more ‘academics-orientated’ player an opportunity to showcase his talent in the koshuis league, where we cement the fact that koshuis rugby is serious fun. The ‘fun’ part does not mean an unstructured league, but to enjoy rugby at koshuis level while completing their studies.
“We are proud to be a sponsor of the Varsity Cup for 10 years now, and assisting to keep koshuis rugby going, which ultimately introduces and enhances the game of rugby.”
This growth has led to the spilt of the league; into two tiers – the Championship and the Premiership. The Championship is the top five teams of 2016’s competition, while the Championship is the bottom four.
Each will compete against the other teams in their pool, before the top two in each pool compete for the Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby Championship and Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby Premiership titles.
“Having two pools, with a top-five and bottom-four allows for strength versus strength,” says Valentine, “Which automatically leads to more competitive rugby and nail-biting finishes oppose to runaway victories, which in fact, is not why we invest in koshuis rugby.
“I would go so far as to say that the universities that invest in their own koshuis leagues, almost always end in the top four in a Varsity Cup season.”
Three new teams, two new pools, two champions crowned rather than one, and all of the same ‘gees’ and camaraderie we’ve come to expect.