Varsity Cup captains will be able to remove any two nominated backline players from the opposition for three minutes of playing time during matches next year.
The Power Play, which will also be part of the 2018 Varsity Shield, can only be called by a team while in their own half, must be called by the captain, and can only be called once. If the team whose players have been removed score a try during the Power Play period, they are awarded an extra two points (seven points before the conversion).
‘Yellow and red cards are such integral aspects of rugby, yet players and coaches worldwide struggle to deal with the change in personnel,’ said Duitser Bosman, CEO of Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield.
‘This innovative new rule will foster a generation of rugby players who will be able to defend with fewer teammates on the field and will know how to fully utilise a numerical advantage.’
University of Western Cape coach Chester Williams believes the Power Play rule will bring an exciting edge to the competition.
‘The new rule will be good for players, coaches and, most of all, spectators going into next year’s competition, as it keeps the game fresh. Power Play will really keep the game fluid and allow for some innovative thinking from the coaches.
‘It will be tactically and strategically challenging for all of the coaches, and will be interesting to see how other coaches react.’
The Varsity Cup will kick off on 29 January and the Varsity Shield on 19 February.