Natal given a sniff of Varsity Cup rugby

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content on 7 Jun 2010 at 07:00
Tagged with : ,

The creation of a second-tier Varsity Shield competition from 2011 onwards would appear to have opened the door to the KZN Rugby Union for a team from that province to play in the Varsity Cup proper from 2012 onward. While the province’s universities have never been a power-base for the game, it does remain somewhat galling that the Sharks are the only major franchise on the local rugby scene not to have the option of using Varsity Cup rugby as a drawcard to attract young talent to the province.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal will compete against WITS, the University of the Western Cape, Free State’s Central University of Technology and Fort Hare University for the inaugural Varsity Shield in 2011, with the winner of the double-round competition going on to play a promotion-relegation match against the lowest-placed Varsity Cup side. While the other four sides will all find themselves competing for the same player base as existing Varsity Cup sides, UKZN should (if the Sharks play it right) have the cream of eligible talent from the Sharks Academy to pick from and would consider it an utter disaster should they fail to secure promotion to the Varsity Cup proper within the first year.

The teams competing in the Varsity Shield will enjoy the same level of sponsorship from the existing Varsity Cup tournament sponsors, including Steinhoff and Carling Black Label. It remains to be scene what level of TV coverage the B-section competition will receive, but whatever the case, this is an exciting development for rugby in the province and should help to develop a far stronger rugby culture at UKZN, in partnership with the Sharks Academy.


  • Great news, however the problem with this plan is the administrative bureaucracy of UKZN. If the Sharks and KZN Rugby can make a deal with them I’ll be surprised. Also, doesn’t the Sharks Academy have a deal with Varsity College?

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.06.10 08:09:52 by MerckZ Reply
  • They simply have to put all that aside.

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.06.10 08:26:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @MerckZ (Comment 1) : Now we’re getting somewhere

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.06.10 08:27:00 by SandTiger Reply

  • We will have to wait and see if academy players play for UKZN, to be honest, I’m not holding my breath

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.06.10 08:43:10 by war1 Reply
  • Great news.
    As MerckZ says though, admin is going to be another problem. Yes I think the academy are affiliated with Varsity College but not only that the UKZN have always had 2 seperate campuses (Durban and Pietermaritzburg) that have (had) their own teams competing in the various competitions. I suppose they will have to play out amongst themselves to see who represents the UKZN.

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.06.10 08:44:23 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Good news and lets hope that admin issues don’t stand in the way.

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.06.10 09:52:31 by Oubaas2009 Reply

  • Not hoping to win it, but the exposure would be great . . .

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.06.10 10:29:52 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Its about time we had some good news its great at last sth is starting to happen and ADMIN will just have to step aside and let us start doing things for the Sharks 🙂

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.06.10 12:07:34 by chaz Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 5) : They could combine the two; making the talent pool that much deeper. Hopefully the lure of Varsity Cup rugby will keep a number of players in KZN, instead of heading off to UCT or Stellenbosch, like a lot of Maritzburg College players seem to do.

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.06.10 13:47:59 by MerckZ Reply

  • well, right now the Sharks Academy seems to have some ability to dictate which club their players represent. Shouldn’t be too hard, within that structure, to ensure that Maritzburg Varsity (or whoever else) gets a good enough selection of players to ensure success.

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.06.10 14:01:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : Unfortunately it took the Bulls and Lions a couple of seasons before they were able to influence the Tuks and RAU’s, but once it started making financial sense things changed rapidly.

    I doubt this will have an overnight effect, but it will be positive.

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.06.10 14:13:38 by SandTiger Reply

  • How does the academy work exactly? What do the sharks pay for and what do the players receive from them? What I’m getting at is, what tertiary education are they receiving at/through the academy and what would their eligability be for the UKZN then?

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.06.10 16:09:58 by JustPlainSHARK Reply


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