Varsity Cup returns on Monday, 3 February 2020 with all FNB Varsity Cup games being played at 19:00 and struggling teams at risk of relegation.
The adjustment of the times of the FNB Varsity Cup means only one game a week will be televised live on Monday nights.
The Ikeys 2020 tournament kick offs with an away game against UJ at the UJ Stadium followed by a home game against NWU Pukke on Monday the 10th of February. Last year the Ikeys won the UJ fixture 42–23.
There are some other interesting fixtures on the opening day including a classic Northern derby with UP-Tuks taking on NWU – a repeat of last season’s semi-final. In the same round, current champions Maties will host Shimlas, the surprise package of 2019, who were beaten by the same Maties in the semi-finals. The fourth match of the day sees UWC take on Wits at home at the UWC stadium.
The 2020 season of FNB Varsity Cup is also a promotion/relegation year, which will mean that the team that finishes on top of the FNB Varsity Shield log, over the combined log of 2019 and 2020, will automatically be promoted to the 2021 season of FNB Varsity Cup. Meanwhile, the ninth-placed team of the FNB Varsity Cup log, over the combined log of 2019 and 2020, will automatically be relegated to FNB Varsity Shield in 2021. The team that finishes eighth on the FNB Varsity Cup and the team ending in second position of FNB Varsity Shield over the combined log of 2019 and 2020, will play in the promotion/relegation match on 21 April 2020. The winner of this match will play FNB Varsity Cup in 2021.
There have also been some coaching changes with former Springbok fly-half and 2007 Rugby World Cup winner André Pretorius taking over the reins at NWU, Nico Luus will step up as head coach of UP-Tuks, Maties will also head into the season with a new man in charge, Drikus Hancke, who steps in for Hawies Fourie who has taken over the head coaching role at the Cheetahs.
As part of the Stormers pre-season preparation on Saturday 11 January they held a Varsity Day with all four Western Cape Institutions as well as a WP team playing 20-minute practice matches. The Ikeys had the following results from the days event:
Stormers 5-0 UCT
With the wind starting to play more of a role at Florida Park towards the end of the day, the Stormers had their defence tested against UCT. A break from fullback Abner van Reenen set up field position for a maul try in the corner from hooker Schalk Erasmus. While UCT enjoyed most of possession, the Stormers defence held out well under pressure.
UCT 15-5 WP XV
Maties 10-5 UCT
UCT 15-0 CPUT