FNB Varsity Rugby 2017

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Varsity Cup Wrap Week 1


The first round of this year of Varsity Cup and nothing has change with somewhat surprising results on the first night of the new season.


The FNB Varsity Cup Presented by Steinhoff International kicked off in Johannesburg, with a mouthwatering clash between FNB Wits and FNB UFS at rather wet Wits Rugby Stadium. FNB UFS lived up to their favourites tag, as they managed to stun FNB Wits 21-26, in a game that could have gone either way.

The game carried a lot of excitement around campus as students returned to back their boytjies.

The match got underway with the home side looking threatening with the backs running the ball well. A few handling errors unfortunately let both teams down as they looked to go forward with ball in hand. The first try did, however, fall to the home side, as FNB Wits Winger Kwanele Ngema picked up a ball from a scrum in the FNB UFS half and managed to beat a few defenders on his way to sliding over for a great try. The resulting conversion attempt from FNB Wits captain and flyhalf Warren Gilbert, was a great one as he added the extra two points to give FNB Wits an early 7-0 lead.

The Visitors then seemed to rise to the occasion themselves as they came charging back at the hosts. As a result of the visitors’ efforts, FNB UFS Winger Marco Mason dashed through the FNB Wits defence to dot down in the corner to cut the deficit to just two points after he failed to convert his own try. The rest of the half then saw the men from the Free State dominate as they added a further two unanswered tries from Dian Badenhorst and Niel Stannard with Mason only converting one try to leave the score at 7-19 to the visitors going into the break.

The second half started in a similar fashion as the first, with FNB Wits dotting down through big lock forward Graem Logan, who scored after Wits had been applying pressure on the FNB UFS line for a few moments. Gilbert then cut the difference to just five points with a great conversion to bring the score to 14-19. FNB UFS then lost 8th man Bernardus Erasmus, after he received a yellow card. This gave FNB Wits confidence, which led to the Witsies running in another converted try through hooker CJ Conradie. That would be the last bit of try line action from the home side, as the visitors had the last say in the match, with substitute forward Francois Steyn crossing over for FNB UFS and win the match 21-26.

FNB Player That Rocks: Phumzile Maqondwana (FNB Shimlas)

FNB Wits: 21
Kwanele Ngema, Graem Logan, CJ Conradie
Cons: Warren Gilbert (3)

Tries: Marco Mason, Dian Badenhorst, Niel Stannard, Francois Steyn
Cons: Marco Mason (2)

The FNB Madibaz outclassed the FNB Ikeys 8-36 at Florida Park in Ravensmead in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International on Monday. Former Dale College player Andile Jho scored a brace as FNB Madibaz outscored their opponents with five tries to one. The FNB Madibaz scored three unanswered first half tries on their way to securing their first win of the season.

A relentless onslaught from the visiting side saw them cross the whitewash five times while FNB Ikeys only managed eight points.

Lovu Claasen and Kevin Kaba got over for two five-pointers while left winger Jixie Molapo burnt the defence to dot down for a seven-pointer, which originated in the FNB Madibaz own half.

The visitors dominated the opening half, both scrums and lineouts bossed by the FNB Madibaz. Lock pairing of Wynand Grassman and Gerrit Huisamen gave problems to the FNB Ikey loose trio of captain Jason Klaasen, Luke Stringer and Nyasha Tarusenga.

The men from Port Elizabeth continued where they left off in the first half. After a brilliant passage of play from the home side, a turnover allowed the speeding Molapo to race in for a score under the upright.

After some constant pressure from FNB Ikeys it seemed like they would claw their way back into the match. The build-up to the Hablutzel’s try shifted the momentum in the favour of the home team. It was however short-lived as the FNB Madibaz resolve held firmly. Just before and immediately after the second half strategy break, the match seemed to reach a stalemate as no team managed to add any points to the 8-31 scoreline.

Speedster Jho sealed his brace minutes before the final whistle, as the FNB Madibaz claimed the Monty Taljaard trophy after a well-deserved 8-36 victory.

FNB Player That Rocks: Kevin Kaba (FNB Madibaz) 

Cuan Hablutzel
Lohan Lube

FNB Madibaz: 36
Andile Jho (2), Jixie Molapo, Lovu Claassen, Kevin Kaba
Cons: Simon Bolze (3)
Simon Bolze

FNB UP-Tuks scored a late try to snatch a 13-9 (halftime 5-6) victory over FNB Maties in Round One of the tenth edition of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International at Loftus Versfeld.

The wet conditions proved to be a huge obstacle for both teams as they tried to keep their hands on the ball in front of a good turnout of supporters. FNB Maties were first to register points as flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg kicked a penalty in the 17th minute.

This galvanised FNB UP-Tuks into putting together a few good phases that culminated in no.8 Chris Massyn scoring off the back of a strong driving maul. Flyhalf Tinus de Beer could not add the extras.

The rain continued to bucket down but that did not stop the teams from playing expansive rugby while defending like men possessed as they tried to assert dominance over each other.

FNB Maties had the final say before halftime as Stapelberg landed another penalty to give the visitors a slender 5-6 lead at the break.

The second half proved to be much of the same as the rain settled into a light drizzle with much of the proceedings happening between the two 22s.

De Beer put FNB UP-Tuks in the lead for the first time with a 58th minute penalty but Stapelberg replied almost immediately with a penalty of his own. FNB Maties tried hard to break FNB UP-Tuks’ defensive line but the home side held strong leaving FNB Maties frustrated.

De Beer pulled the curtain down on the match as he burrowed his way over to cross the try line with minutes left on the clock.

FNB UP-Tuks have a bye in Round Two but return in Round Three of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International when they travel to Port Elizabeth to face FNB NMMU.

FNB Player that Rocks: Chris Massyn (FNB Tuks)

FNB UP-Tuks:
Tries: Chris Massyn, Tinus de Beer
Pen: Tinus de Beer

FNB Maties: 9
Pens: Ernst Stapelberg (3)

The opening game of the 2017 Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International saw FNB UJ narrowly lose to 2016 champions FNB NWU-Pukke in a 12- 16 loss at the Johannesburg Stadium.

The rain certainly did not damper the mood in the Johannesburg Stadium as the vibrant home partisan crowd was treated to a high-octane start from both sides. The teams were going at each other and it wasn’t until the 13th minute when FNB NWU-Pukke got on the scoresheet first with a penalty from Schalk Hugo. The champions started to grow in confidence as lovely interactive passing from the backline saw FNB UJ’s defense torn in half as winger Jimmy Mpailane jotted down for the first try of the game, 0-10 to FNB NWU-PUKKE after 20 minutes.

The home side got on the scoresheet themselves with a penalty from Divan Nel. The flyhalf did it again with another penalty from his own half to cut the lead to make it 6-10. He then made it a hat-trick of penalties to put FNB UJ within a point of the game. Divan Nel with the last kick of the half put FNB UJ in the lead with his fourth successive penalty of the half, giving the home side a slender advantage going into the second half.

FNB NWU-Pukke came out of the half quick and applied early pressure on FNB UJ. The home side was able to deal with the pressure and sustainable FNB NWU-Pukke. The away side eventually got their way through and took the lead through flyhalf Schalk Hugo to take the lead, 12-13 to the champions with 15 minutes remaining.

The pressure now was on FNB UJ as they looked to turn the game around. The crowd got behind their team in hope of sparking a likely victory. However NWU-Pukke put the game further away from FNB UJ, as flyhalf Schalk Higo scored his third penalty to make it 12-16. It was a tense finale to the game, but FNB NWU-Pukke were able to hold on and grabbed a 16-12 victory over FNB UJ.
FNB Player that Rocks: Wilmar Arnoldi (FNB Pukke)
FNB UJ: 12
: Divan Nel (4)

FNB NWU-Pukke: 16
Jimmy Mpailane

Cons: Schalk Hugo

Pens: Schalk Hugo (3)

Get more Varsity Cup news at the official Varsity Cup Site

Varsity Cup – Varsity Cup Opening Round


The Varisty Cup celebrates 10 years in 2017 and after a disruptive year last year most supporters and the Universities will be hoping that the 10 year celebrations will go smoothly.

The first round on Monday will have the newly-promoted Wits opening their Varsity Cup against the former champions Shimlas in Johannesburg.

Wits is back in the Cup tournament after two years playing in the Shield competition. They will go full out to start their return with a win not just against Shimlas but also their first win in the tournament overall.


The last time these two teams met, Shimlas outlasted Wits in a high-scoring affair, but after morale-boosting pre-season wins over UJ and Pukke, the hosts will look to exact revenge over Shimlas.

The defending champions, Pukke will have to travel to UJ to open their 2017 season which will not be an easy first game up, they have lost two of their last three encounters against UJ which makes this an very important first match for them.

The hosts, who lost the core of their 2016 squad, will look to continue their stranglehold over Pukke in this fixture to send out an early signal of intent.

In a potentially explosive clash, Tuks welcome Maties to Pretoria. The visitors, who were 2016 runners-up after falling short in a nail-biting final last year, will aim to correct that loss with a big performance at Loftus.

Last season’s basement dwellers UCT and NMMU will square-off in the other match-up in round one. Both coaches have talked up their teams’ chances of victory, but while UCT did finish the previous campaign below the Madibaz, the students from Cape Town will enter the clash as favourites because they play at the Green Mile.

Wits vs Shimlas
Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 16:45 (SuperSport 1)

Wits – 15 Lux Ntsepe, 14 Kwanele Ngema, 13 Josh Jarvis, 12 AJ van Blerk, 11 Jarred Branco, 10 Warren Gilbert (c), 9 Ruan Cloete, 8 Jethro de Lange, 7 Mike Renwick, 6 Ruan Macdonald, 5 Rhyno Herbst, 4 Graham Logan, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 CJ Conradie, 1 CJ Greeff.
Subs: 16 Justin Brandon, 17 Ameer Williams, 18 Pascal Snyman, 19 Chris Worthington, 20 Wolta Mtsweni, 21 Brandan Hewitt, 22, Themba Mpemvu, 23 Brandon Palmer.

Shimlas – 15 Sechaba Motsoela, 14 Marco Mason, 13 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 12 Stephan Janse Van Rensburg (c), 11 Vuyani Maqina, 10 Niell Stannard, 9 Dian Badenhorst, 8 Bernadus Erasmus, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Nicolaas Immelman, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Hanno Snyman, 1 Kwenzokuhle Blose.
Subs: 16 Francois Steyn, 17 Johan Kotze, 18 Raymond Woest, 19 Musa Mahlesa, 20 Rewan Kruger, 21 Lihleli Xoli, 22 Nicholas Naude, 23 Thabiso Msiza

UJ vs Pukke
UJ Stadium, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19:00 (SuperSport 1)

UJ – 15 Ronald Brown, 14 Tyreeq February, 13 Ramaboea, 12 Jaco Fourie, 11 Aphiwe Dyanti, 10 Divan Nel, 9 Johan Esterhuizen, 8 Jo-Hanko de Villiers, 7 Adrian Bester, 6 Wian Conradie, 5 Estian Enslin, 4 Kyle van Dalen, 3 Nico du Plessis, 2 Johannes Snyman, 1 Dillon Bakos.
Subs: 16 Emmanuel Morowane, 17 Gela Khanya, 18 Reinhaard Nothnagel, 19 Leon Massyn, 20 Hilton Mudraki, 21 Ewan Adams, 22 Peter John Walters, 23 Sarel Smit.

Pukke – 15 Lungelo Gosa, 14 Jimmy Mpailane, 13 Elden Schoeman, 12 Henko Marais, 11 Tapiwe Mafura, 10 Schalk Hugo, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Marno Redelinghuys, 6 Wandile Mazibuko, 5 Loftus Morrison, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Dewald Dekker, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Dolf van Deventer.
Subs: 23 Justin Newman, 22 AK Nela, 21 Caleb Louw, 20 Marcel Henn, 19 Boela Venter, 18 Morné Strydom, 17 Nico van Tonder, 16 Louis van der Westhuizen.

Tuks vs Maties 
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19:00 (not televised)

Tuks – 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Dewald Naude, 13 Toko Maebane, 12 Impi Visser, 11 Keanan van Wyk, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Theo Maree, 8 Chris Massyn, 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Ruan Steenkamp (c), 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Aston Fortuin, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Subs: 16 Theuns Reynolds, 17 Jaco Holtzhausen, 18 Brian Leitch, 19 Eduan Lubbe, 20 Raegen Oranje, 21 Christo Hamman, 22 Mervano da Silva, 23 Franco van den Berg.

Maties – 15 Craig Barr, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Kyle Steyn, 12 Braam Venter, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Devon Nash, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Beyers de Villiers, 5 Johan Momsen, Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Jacobus van der Merwe, 2 Freddie Kirsten 1 Wesley Adonis.
Subs: 16 Craig Corbett, 17 Niel Oelofse, 18 Janco Venter, 19 Mitchell Carstens, 20 Logan Boonzaaier, 21 Chris Smith, 22 Ryan Muller, 23 Wikus Groenewald.

UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town
Kick-off: 18:30 (not televised)

UCT – 15 Rob Anderson, 14 Seb Roodt, 13 Suwi Chibale, 12 Rico Lategan, 11 Joel Smith, 10 Lohan Lube, 9 Stef de Gouveia, 8 Nyasha Tarusenga, 7 Luke Stringer, 6 Jason Klaassen (C), 5 Duncan Saffy, 4 Gary Porter, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Cuan Hablutzel, 1 Waryin Losper.
Subs: 16 Msizi Zondi, 17 Marty Chandler, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazebuko, 19 Nama Xaba, 20 Sanele Malwane, 21 Hilio de Abreu, 22 Ibbie Adams, 23 Jez Mcintyre.

NMMU – 15 Lindelwe Zungu, 14 Ivan-John du Preez, 13 Siphumelele Msutwana, 12 Andile Jho, 11 Jixie Molapo, 10 Simon Bolze, 9 Lovu Claassen, 8 Kevin Kaba, 7 Lusanda Badiyana, 6 Stephanus Nieuwoudt, 5 Gerrit Huisamen, 4 Wynand Grassmann, 3 Nicolas Roebeck, 2 JP Jamieson, 1 Xandre Vos.
Subs: 16 Jedwin Harty, 17 Tembelihle, 18 Janse Roux, 19 Henry Brown, 20 Rouche Nel, 21 Thomas Kean, 22 Luan Nieuwoudt, 23 Daniel Voigt.

2017 Varsity Cup new Rules


This year’s edition of the Varsity Cup, which starts on January 30, will see a few changes implemented.

The tenth edition of the tournament has grown from eight universities in 2008 to 16 in 2017.

In 2017, three new universities are added to the second-tier Varsity Shield, with the addition of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Rhodes University (Rhodes) and Walter Sisulu University (WSU) seeing the Shield competition grow from five teams to seven.

Last year’s Varsity Shield winners, Wits, re-join the top-tier Varsity Cup after a few seasons of absence, growing it from eight to nine teams.

“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 four teams in the tournament – two teams in the Varsity Cup (Maties and UCT), and two teams in the Varsity Shield (UWC and CPUT), while the Eastern Cape sports one team in the Varsity Cup (Madibaz) and three in Varsity Shield (UFH, WSU and Rhodes).

Unique rules for 2017:

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 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, that 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 Varsity Cup.

Maties believes the title is returning to Stellenbosch in 2017


Three-time FNB Varsity Cup presented Steinhoff International winners, FNB Maties hosted and won the first three finals of the competition. But since then, the Maroon Machine have fell agonisingly short of a fourth title on three occasions, losing out to FNB Tuks in 2013 and 2013 and FNB Pukke in last year’s final.

There are many early competition records still standing years on, like that of three-time winning FNB Maties, a feat no other university has achieved. Another record that remains, is by an FNB Maties player who scored the winning try in both the 2008 and 2009 final.

Winger Morne Jooste crashed over in the corner to snatch a final-minute victory for the men from Stellenbosch against FNB Ikeys in the 2008 final. In similar fashion a year later, it was the former Western Province speedster that once again scored the winning five-pointer against FNB NWU-Pukke in front of a packed Danie Craven Stadium.

“Scoring the winning try in 2008 was an amazing feeling,” says Jooste. “I came on as a replacement and had to get my head in the game very quickly.”

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA - 30 March 2009, Morne Jooste from Maties during the Varsity Cup Final match between Maties and Pukke from Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Jooste is currently employed at one of the Impala Mines in Rustenburg as a systems administrator.

He is playing for the two-time Gold Cup winning team, Rustenburg Impala where he holds the South African club rugby record for scoring the most consecutive hat-tricks – five!

The packed stadium certainly rallied behind their teams, but Jooste believes that the home ground advantage helped urge the team on to claim those first three titles.

“Playing in front of a packed Danie Craven Stadium is a feeling many rugby players wish for.”

It was the 29-year-old’s winning try in 2009 that ensured the Varsity Cup trophy remained in Stellenbosch, this time it was against the formidable FNB NWU-Pukke.

Jooste, who is the son of Springbok convener of selectors Peter Jooste, believes that the FNB Maties have what it takes to bring the title back to Danie Craven Stadium in 2017.

“I haven’t been in contact with anyone at Maties, but what I saw [in 2016] and what worked for us in those earlier years, was the trust players had in the coach’s plan for each game,” adds Jooste. “Hawies Fourie has a good rugby brain and I believe has the right tools to get the job done and bring the title back to Stellenbosch.”

By Lyndon Julius

Three new Universities join the FNB Varsity Shield



Three new universities join the FNB Varsity Shield presented by Steinhoff International.

They are FNB Rhodes, FNB CPUT (Cape Peninsula University of Technology), and FNB WSU (Walter Sisulu University). The FNB Varsity Shield presented by Steinhoff International season kicks off on 9 February. The tournament has grown from five to seven teams. A daunting task awaits the new trio as all of their opening matches are away games.

It’s an all-Cape affair, in the season opener, as FNB UWC host neighbours FNB CPUT while FNB Rhodes travel to Tshwane to face FNB TUT. The final new kid on the block, FNB WSU, will be hosted at the Davidson Stadium by FNB UFH which will be one of the two televised Varsity Shield matches on SuperSport; the other being the Cape Town derby.

“Varsity Cup has become a highlight on the rugby-mad South African’s sporting calendar as fans look forward to a unique and entertaining sporting display every Monday night,” said Varsity Cup Manager, Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi.

“There is great excitement around the eagerly anticipated try-scoring rule this season, which will see a try counting seven points when originating from anywhere in a team’s own half, and five points if in the opposition half. This rule will reward teams that score tries without surrendering possession, running it in from their own half. The amended mauling law and scrumming law also added an exciting dimension to the playing conditions in 2016, decreasing the amount of time spent resetting these two aspects of play.”