robdylan

Sharks need in on Varsity Cup action


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 3 Feb 2010 at 13:08
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I must say, I was very impressed with the quality of rugby I saw during the first round of Varsity Cup matches on Monday. This competition is fresh, exciting and relevant in a way that the tired Vodacom Cup really struggles to be. My only gripe is that there isn’t a KZN team to support!

Looking at the teams that take part, I note with alarm that the Sharks are the only Super 14 franchise without a Varsity Cup team based in their region. The Bulls, Stormers and Lions have two each, while the Cheetahs have one. The remaining team, the NMMU Madibaz are no doubt going to form an important launchpad for the Southern Kings franchise, if it ever manages to get of the ground. It is interesting to note just how much of a draw card the Varsity Cup seems to be for aspiring players; they see it as a springboard from which they can launch their careers and gain more exposure, perhaps attracting the eye of an influential senior coach. I’m sure not too many guys view the Vodacom Cup in the same light.

One of the Ikeys coaches made an interesting comment before their game. He mentioned that players are choosing to study at Ikeys in the hope of playing in the Varsity Cup. We’ve seen a number of youngsters, some with promising futures, already leave the Sharks set up to join the likes of UJ and Pukke, on the grounds that they’d rather play Varsity Cup than sit on the fringes of the Sharks or Sharks XV squad. Having those teams available, playing in an exciting competition, gives a senior franchise coach a lot more options in terms of affording young players gametime and assessing their suitability for the big leagues.

The Sharks, in short, are missing out and while our Academy still does well to attract top talent, we will soon find that the lure of Varsity Cup exposure convinces the really top youngsters to look elsewhere – to Tukkies and the Bulls, or UJ and the Lions. Hell, I see that these days, the Stormers are even looking at a few Maties and Ikeys players, just for a change!

The solution is simple, to my mind. If NMMU and TUT can field teams based at universities that were not previously considered bastions of the game, then Martizburg Varsity can as well. The Sharks Academy already does a very good job ensuring that all its players are affiliated to a club for which he is expected to play every weekend. Why not handpick the brightest and best of those youngsters and allocate them to Martizburg Varsity? I’m not sure exactly how the participation agreement of the Varsity Cup has been drawn up, but it’s a successful format and I’m sure the sponsors and organisers would love to include more teams, provided they won’t lower the standard.

This is a no-brainer, Sharks. Get cracking and get our boys into the Varsity Cup, before we find that we don’t have them around any more.



47 Comments

  • 12 out of 15 Stormers players are Maties

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.02.10 13:14:18 by provincejoulekkading Reply
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  • Yup, you guys are missing out big time…

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.02.10 13:15:56 by Morné Reply
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  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 1) : oops :)

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.02.10 13:27:27 by robdylan Reply
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  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 1) : hang on… are you serious? Which ones?

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.02.10 13:28:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • I would like to have a team to support, at SB I just picked a random team :sad: Now I’m wondering if we had a university participating in the Varsity Cup would our recruitment personnal actually be wake up enough to get them while they’re hot.

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.02.10 14:06:31 by Jarson's (X + V) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Dead serious, Jean(ok I know he is gone) Aplon, Joe P, JD,Grant, Flo(i think) P Louw etc etc

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.02.10 14:19:58 by provincejoulekkading Reply
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  • i think the sharks academy did try a while ago, they got denied, i agree, we do need to get a team in there, but the players will have to be students at the varsity to be eligible if im not mistaken, so there needs to be a solid partnership between the academy and maritzburg varsity, mac did it, and he built an incredibly strong side through that

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.02.10 14:27:49 by war1 Reply
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  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 6) : Didn’t Aplon play for Hawston?

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.02.10 14:30:02 by molly Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 8) : High Schoool

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.02.10 14:32:24 by provincejoulekkading Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 7) : I’ve forwarded this article to Hans Scriba at the Academy. Let’s see what he says

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.02.10 14:33:01 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : there may be excuses, but there are also solutions, ;-)

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.02.10 14:35:08 by war1 Reply
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  • Hans Scriba for Sharks Flyhalf 2010 !!! ROFLMAO!!!!

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.02.10 14:43:36 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • The thing about the Varsity Cup is not just the players it bring through but the most Maties are actually WP Vodacom players now getting much needed matches to prepare themself for the Vodacom Cup. Once the Vodacom starts they are already in 5th gear. Pretty sure Coetzee give Chean Roux orders which player he must use in what position ex Hoffman playing 10.

    Anyway a very valid point but the good thing about this Varsity rugby, its quick and fast and a competition for players just out of Vodacom/S14 sight.

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.02.10 15:23:04 by PaarlBok Reply

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  • firstly,hi to everyone on this blog . secondly,maties is an ‘open’club ,meaning you don’t have to be a registered maties student to be eligible to play for any maties side(not to be mistaken with ‘koshuisrugby’).the sharks academy offer some varsity college courses to the academy students.it’s a shame that varsity rugby in kzn (pmb/dbn)is in such a sorry state.
    peter grant was persuaded by his older sister to go study at maties-so that he could experience student life and a different culture.

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.02.10 15:29:16 by bergshark Reply

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  • I think you’ll find a lot of Maritzburg boykies at Maties. Stellenbosch sort of give you the same vibe as PM. My son played hockey for Maties a few years back and most of his team mates were Maritzburg boys.

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.02.10 15:40:19 by PaarlBok Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 14) : Well you can`t blame Peter Grant for wanting the ” complete package” . . .

  • Comment 16, posted at 03.02.10 15:44:59 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 14) : hi Bergshark… welcome to the site.

    I’m pretty sure Maritzburg Varsity, at least, is also an open club. But I think that the Varsity Cup competition may stipulate that only registered students are allowed to play? Or am I wrong?

  • Comment 17, posted at 03.02.10 15:50:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : Right you are

  • Comment 18, posted at 03.02.10 16:04:46 by provincejoulekkading Reply
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  • maybe Martizburg Varsity and the madibaz can play in their own leauge

  • Comment 19, posted at 03.02.10 16:06:45 by monster Reply

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  • :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Only joking

  • Comment 20, posted at 03.02.10 16:07:39 by monster Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 17) :

    You are right.

    And I updated my ass for the week.

  • Comment 21, posted at 03.02.10 16:10:24 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 21) : well then I guess they’ll all have to do BA psych. Most of them would benefit in more ways than one :-)

  • Comment 22, posted at 03.02.10 16:14:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @monster (Comment 19) : All I want is for the powers that be at the Sharks to take out the company chequebook, write some too-good-to-resist numbers on there and buy that little Draghoender dude – there’s a star in the making, if I’ve ever seen one. He reminds me a bit of David Smith from the Hurricanes.

  • Comment 23, posted at 03.02.10 16:16:35 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 23) : can’t say I disagree with that

  • Comment 24, posted at 03.02.10 16:36:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • Rob very interesting article, and I would like to take it one bit further and say do away with the Vodacom cup in its current format and bring it back as a club championship but run over a slightly longer period, ala varsity cup, this would reintroduce the clubs back into the big time with recognisable players playing at the club and would catch the late developers who only started playing decent rugby when they matured, but because they missed the craven week contracts were lost to rugby. It would also stimulate interest in club rugby in place of what I see as a pretty dead duck called the Vodacom cup!!

  • Comment 25, posted at 03.02.10 18:03:10 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 25) : that’s pretty sensible! I think one of the major features of the Varsity Cup is the fact that they want all the fictures to be played on a Monday, so as not to clash with any weekend rugby. Probably the reason it can only be 8 teams big right now. But there’s no reason they couldn’t extend it to two weekdays every week… Monday and Thursday, for e.g.

  • Comment 26, posted at 03.02.10 18:15:11 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 21) : PHWOAAAR

  • Comment 27, posted at 03.02.10 18:21:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 6) : would be easier to name those ones that are not maties.

    what about UCT guys? where do they go?

  • Comment 28, posted at 03.02.10 21:02:10 by rekinek Reply
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  • Is Maritzburg Varsity from this article synonimous with the University of KwaZulu Natal? It is indeed surprising that having successful team in town this Uni does not have a recognised rugby team.

  • Comment 29, posted at 03.02.10 21:06:14 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 29) : The university of Natal used yo be made up of the Pietermaritzburg and Durban campuses, I think its the same with the university of KZN. Durban university are previous winners of the Toyota club champs and both Durban and Maritzburg varsity were always competitive in first division rugby.
    The question now is why are so many schooled KZN kids going to varsities in other provinces.

  • Comment 30, posted at 04.02.10 10:41:39 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 30) : but maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way…

    In the amateur era, players needed a career outside of rugby, so they would go to whichever university offered the best education. Thus really strong academic universities like Stellenbosch and Tukkies (RAU too, I guess) ended up with good rugby teams.

    Nowadays, players are contracted straight out of school, but are looking for opportunities to get exposure from a young age – the Varsity Cup seems to offer that. So I reckon you might see a good schoolboy player deciding to go to Maties (and sign a junior contract with WP) because of the prospect of Varsity Cup rugby. That same player might find the Sharks offer of an Academy place less attractive. Make sense?

  • Comment 31, posted at 04.02.10 11:21:39 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 31) : It makes lots of sense. My view is that both Maritzburg and Durban varsities are/were very good academic and sporting institutions, this does not seem to be the case anymore and that is the main reason why KZN kids are going to universities outside the province.
    Sadly its not just the sporting hotshots that are studying outside the province.

  • Comment 32, posted at 04.02.10 12:57:11 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 32) : oh, ok… see what you’re getting at. Agree that in a wider context it’s worrying, because it leads to a talent drain away from the Province.

  • Comment 33, posted at 04.02.10 13:02:18 by robdylan Reply
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  • Doss anyone know how many guys who played varsity cup rugby last year also played provincial rugby.

  • Comment 34, posted at 04.02.10 13:06:09 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 34) : now there’s a question.

    Define “provincial rugby”…

  • Comment 35, posted at 04.02.10 13:11:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • Super 14, Currie cup – both divisions.
    Not age group.

    I cant think of any, maybe Tiger Bax, anyone else…

  • Comment 36, posted at 04.02.10 13:16:03 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 36) : let me go check

  • Comment 37, posted at 04.02.10 13:16:54 by robdylan Reply
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  • from the 2009 Maties squad:

    Paul Bosch
    Juan de Jongh
    Danre Gerber
    Morgan Newman
    Donald Stevens
    Wesley Wilkins
    Conraad Britz
    Michael de Neiully-Rice
    JJ Engelbrecht
    Jean Stemmet (in Sharks squad)
    Sarel Potgieter

  • Comment 38, posted at 04.02.10 13:21:25 by robdylan Reply
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  • Ikeys:

    Matt Rossllee
    Martin Muller
    Tiger Bax
    Pieter Engelbrecht

  • Comment 39, posted at 04.02.10 13:23:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • it’s gonna take too long to go through all the squads. But there are a LOT

  • Comment 40, posted at 04.02.10 13:24:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 38) : @robdylan (Comment 39) :
    Did all those guys play big boy provincial rugby last year, I recognise some as provincial players.

  • Comment 41, posted at 04.02.10 14:13:17 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Wasn’t Wesley Wilkins Free State under 21 captain?

  • Comment 42, posted at 04.02.10 14:15:17 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 42) : no – he went on to play for Griquas in the CC.

    @Salmonoid (Comment 41) : most of those played some CC for either WP or Boland last year. Pieter Engelcrecht played for the Lions

  • Comment 43, posted at 04.02.10 14:33:16 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 43) :
    Griquas then, I knew it was somewhere where footwear was frowned upon.
    So much for being a bona-fide student.

  • Comment 44, posted at 04.02.10 14:43:21 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 44) : I think that in this professional era, they have found loopholes.

  • Comment 45, posted at 04.02.10 14:53:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 45) :
    Then we can find loopholes to let our Varsity College academy playters into the competition.

  • Comment 46, posted at 04.02.10 15:02:42 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 46) : that’s what I reckon too. The “more academic” ones are registered for Bachelors’ Degrees anyway… I think through Durban Varsity

  • Comment 47, posted at 04.02.10 15:12:44 by robdylan Reply
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