UKZN’s head of rugby means business

2013-10-24 00:00

IF you ever doubted John Mitchell’s commitment to the UKZN Rugby Club, rest assured.

No stone is being left unturned in the university’s new head of rugby and UKZN Impi Varsity Shield head coach’s efforts to help deliver a successful 2014 season to the club on each of its campuses.

A meet-and-greet with parents, coaches, and prospective new students at the UKZN rugby clubhouse on the Pietermaritzburg campus this week revealed that the former All Blacks head coach means business.

The present group of players currently preparing for their November exams won’t be spared either, as Mitchell will drive up from his Durban home to PMB for training, which will start at 6 am during the week.

“Players will enjoy the programme, which might be a bit different to what they are used to,” Mitchell told The Witness.

As to new players joining the group, the Impi future looks bright.

“Our recruitment and education officer, Shane le Breton, is working very hard and there is a huge interest in playing for the Impi,” said Mitchell. “We expect some new elite players, but there is also an academic component to whether the university will accept them, although marginal students will also be considered.”

Mitchell will be holding training camps in December, while the team will only be named in January. “I want to leave it as late as possible so I can keep team selection as open as we can. I am looking for a group of players prepared to work hard, and while we have only got a small amount of time I believe it is enough to be ready for the opening round [at the end of January].”

The final leg of John Mitchell’s meet-and-greet roadshow around the campuses takes place today at the UKZN clubhouse in Howard College, Durban (parking at the Varsity swimming pool off Princess Alice Road) and the start time is 6 pm for 6.30 pm.

Contact Le Breton on for more information.

The provisional fixture list for next year’s Varsity Shield sees the Impi playing two home matches at the Howard College rugby stadium in Durban and the other two at the Peter Booysen Sports Park rugby stadium in Pietermaritzburg.


Jan 27 vs Central University of Technology (Bloemfontein); Feb 3 vs University of Fort Hare (Durban); Feb 17 vs University of Western Cape (Bellville); Feb 24 vs Tshwane University of Technology (PMB); Feb 27 vs UFH (Alice, Eastern Cape); Mar 3 vs UWC (Durban); Mar 17 vs TUT (Pretoria); Mar 24 vs CUT (PMB); Mar 31 (Varsity Shield final). * Varsity Shield winners earn automatic promotion to Varsity Cup, VS runners-up in promotion/relegation match against second-last VC team.

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