The all-new FNB Varsity Cup – which will see the top eight universities in South Africa compete for the ultimate bragging rights – is set to take South African rugby by storm, and the University of Cape Town (UCT) will not be far behind.
UCT are one of the eight teams competing in the inaugural competition, which will be played mostly on Monday nights, with some matches to be televised (see below). All teams will play each other once, with the top four teams going into the semi-finals, after an exciting league finale in George over the Easter Weekend.
The tournament’s mantra is ‘Rugby that Rocks’ and UCT intend on doing
just that, despite being up against some pretty formidable opposition
in the shape of Pukke (the best rugby university in SA last year) and
Stellenbosch, the Ikeys’ traditional rivals over the years. This competition is for players 25 years and younger and the timing of
the tournament enables teams to take part in their local leagues and
other Saru fixtures.
Springbok centre Robbie Fleck, himself a former Ikeys star, has now
turned his hand to coaching and will be looking after the UCT backline,
with head coach John Dobson – also a former student and player at the
club – coaching the forwards.
"I have never seen a Varsity team so focused, which makes it easy for
us coaches," said Fleck, who played 31 Tests for the Boks between 1999
and 2002, "I mean, have you ever heard of UCT students training during
January – on their own??
"The set-up at UCT is also very professional, we have a strong support
staff and no stone is being left unturned ahead of this exciting
tournament. However, we are aware of the battle that we face,
especially against teams like Maties, Pukke and Tukkies – all of whom
have budgets considerably bigger than us.
"One thing is for sure though, expect to see a lot of heart from this
UCT side and we will continue to play the exciting brand of 15-man
rugby that has always been synonymous with Ikey rugby."
UCT’s first match is a home fixture against Pukke on Monday, February
18 (kick-off 6.45pm) and they are working hard behind the scenes to get
their past players to come and support, along with their past and
present students, some of whom have returned to lectures already.
Look out for big names like Bob Skinstad and Dion O’Cuinneagain on the
sidelines come the 18th, whilst the many proud UCT students in
attendance will no doubt have a word or two for the opposition!
UCT’s Varsity Cup fixtures:
Monday, February 18:
UCT v NWU-Pukke – 17.30 kick off at UCT, aka The Green Mile
Monday, February 25:
UCT v Tuks – 17.30 kick off at UCT, aka The Green Mile
Monday, March 3:
UJ v UCT
Monday, March 10:
TUT v UCT (televised)
The Easter Weekend Festival in George
(each Varsity Cup team will play its final three league matches over the Easter Weekend):
Thursday, March 20:
UCT v Maties (televised)
Saturday, March 22:
NMMU v UCT
Monday, March 24:
UCT v Kovies (televised)
Monday, March 31:
Monday, April 7: