Sharks supply all the tens in Varsity Cup opener

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content on 6 Feb 2012 at 10:01
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

Tonight sees the opening round of the 2012 Varsity Cup get under way, with a number of interesting match ups on the cards. It should be the great Northern Derby between Tuks and UJ that attracts the most interest in this round, particularly for Sharks supporters looking for a team to follow in this year’s competition.

As always, there has been a rather dramatic exodus of talent from the Durban youth and club scene towards the universities represented in the, shall we say, “well-exposed” Varsity Cup and tonight’s match in Pretoria will be no different; both starting flyhalves, Wes Dunlop of Tuks and Guy Cronje of UJ having come through the Sharks structures (the latter even having a few Currie Cup caps in the black and white). Adding further insult to injury (and calling into question the Bulls’ claim to be the country’s “flyhalf factory”), the Tuks reserve pivot is one Willie du Plessis, an Affies boy who spent three years in Durban and played both under 19 and under 21 rugby for the Sharks.

It’s also somewhat ironic to note that while the Sharks look somewhat thin at looshead prop this season, after a freak injury to Beast Mtawarira, both Tukkies and UJ will field a Sharks Academy graduate in their resorptive number 1 jerseys. UJ’s Njabulo “Hulk” Mkhize was a fixture in the Sharks under 21 side last year, while Tuks’ Sabs Nhlapo eventually lost patience with being on the fringes of the Sharks squad and decided to move to Pretoria at the end of last year. UJ have Shaun Malton, co-captain of last year’s Sharks under 21s as their reserve hooker, while lock Mike Williams and outside centre Trompie Pretorius will add further black and white to the Tuks lineup.

Heading down to the Eastern Cape, though, where the NMMU Madibaz take on the mighty Pukke, we see that the perennial Varsity Cup whipping boys may just do a lot better this year, thanks to an injection of fresh talent from… you guessed it… the Sharks Academy. Both props (Roy Godfrey and Ross Anderson), openside flank Jaco Otto, scrumhalf Anton Verster and all three squad centres, Howard Mnisi, Quinton Crocker and replacement Dev Lailvaux have come in from further up the coast to bolster the Madibaz’ charge.


  • I think all the players mentioned above are right where their talents suggested they’ll end up – NOT at the Sharks.

    Nevertheless each guy can be proud of their rugby achievements to date and with the exception of Wes Dunlop who already has a provincial gig, the Varsity Cup is the best place for them right now. It’s an chance to exhibit their skills in the hopes of earning provincial contracts.

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.02.12 10:13:31 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • If some of these guys can play for UKZN, get them into the top tier, then we have 1) a better chance of retaining youngsters and academy grads, and 2) a place to keep these youngsters match fit, in games with good exposure (which is a main reason for them leaving atm)

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.02.12 10:41:33 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 2) : Good point. UKZN really needs to plow more money into their rugby programme. If these guys could turn out for UKZN, they’d cruise thru the b-section and be worthy of a promotion.

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.02.12 10:46:03 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Other players who have been involved in the Sharks system (U19, U21, Vodacom Cup etc) and are playing in this years Varsity Cup are:-

    Menzi Sikhulile Ngidi – (Tuks) – Fullback – 2008 U21s
    Ian Ardendorff (Tuks) – loose forward – 2009 Vodacom Cup – went to Glenwood
    Cameron Dunlop (Tuks) – loose forward – 2011 Vodacom Cup
    Wynand Pienaar (Tuks) – full back – 2011 Vodacom Cup / Sharks Academy
    Jerome Pretorious (Tuks) – centre – 2011 Vodacom Cup / Sharks Academy
    Nqubeko Sithembiso (Tuks) – loose forward – 2009 Vodacom Cup / Sharks Academy
    Lee Thompson – (Tuks) – loose forward – 2011 Vodacom Cup
    Justin Botha (Pukke) – Flyhalf – 2008 U19s
    Siya Bulela (Pukke) – Flank – 2009 U21s
    Thiliphatu Marole (UJ) – Flank – 2008 U21s

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.02.12 11:46:31 by slammerboy Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @slammerboy (Comment 4) : Well, I always supported Tuks because a lot of my friends went there, now I have a backup excuse, Tuks = Sharks in red and white, even the loop jersey design is the same

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.02.12 12:03:59 by Die Kriek Reply

  • Couple of other KZN schooled players in the Varsity cup;
    JR Jenkinson Glenwood Kzn Craven week 2008 – Pukke
    JC Astle Kzn Craven Week 2008 – shimlas
    Sam Mabombo – Hilton – maties
    Ntsolo Setlaba MHS (head boy)& Kzn craven week 2007 – UCT (captain)
    James Tatham MHS 2008 -UCT
    Dayne Jans -Hilton -UCT

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.02.12 12:13:22 by steve Reply

  • @steve (Comment 6) : add to that list Donovan Armand (flank) – Maritzburg College – playing for UCT and been involved in the Stormers trials

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.02.12 12:32:25 by slammerboy Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • How can anyone leave out Nick Farrar, Ikeys scrumhalf!! DHS 2008

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.02.12 12:47:04 by Gaff Reply

  • UKZN does have all the players they need, if they work together with the Sharks like the other, they will play top rugby in no time

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.02.12 06:43:50 by Mutley Reply

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